Everybody needs some good churchin' from time to time, whether they need the God aspect of it or not. It's good to be able to sit still for an hour and face forward and be quiet and let somebody else be in charge of the talking.
I, personally, am in need of some good churchin', and more to the point, am in need of a good church.
I am a member of a church that's good, but it's no good for me.
I sure was good for it, though, because I'm full of energy for their outreach programs, and I want to serve the least of these our brethren, and I want to be surrounded by like-minded people.
I'm a lonesome animal in a church – that church, anyway – because I'm single and straight and middle-aged and female and I don't have any children.
I am The Only One Like Me in the whole church.
They don't have a Sunday school class for me, even.
It's not like I'm going to church looking for husband, and truth be told, I wouldn't want to meet one there, because I don't want to give the false impression that I'm going to go every Sunday.
I quit going to the church I'm a member of, and it was both an easy and a hard choice.
I haven't felt included since the old pastor and his family left.
I talked to the two co-pastors about how I don't feel that there's a place there for me and they...just agreed.
I chose that particular church because for one thing, I have historic ties to it, in the form of my late Aunt Virginia, and for another, it has an excellent outreach program, and that means something to me.
But every Sunday, I sat there alone. I did not feel the sense of community I think you're supposed to feel in a church. I did not feel that those other people were my people, let alone my friends.
Every few days or so, there would be an email, a prayer request for this person or that person in some sort of need. It's a pretty well-known fact that I can fend for myself, but not once, not one, single, solitary time has anyone asked me, "How are you doing, Susan?"
So today, just like that, I cut my last tie when I unsubscribed myself from the church listserv.
My heart is heavy, but it was as simple as falling off the pew.
McDonald's offers free breakfasts to kids taking the FCATS (Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test) and the AIMS (Arizona's Instrument to Measure Standards test), among others.
The breakfast consists of an Egg McMuffin and small milk or orange or apple juice.
And people are bitching that they'd rather see them offer the yogurt parfait or the oatmeal (at 31 grams of sugar, which actually makes it dessert, rather than breakfast).
And you know, sure, it's easy to say kids needs a healthier breakfast than fast food. They do. We all do.
But here's the thing: too many kids leave home in the morning with no breakfast.
Many of those same kids will return home to no supper, too.
If McDonald's is willing to step up and say, "Listen. We'll make breakfast for these kids, and we'll deliver it to them," then I don't care who you are, if you're not willing to do better for them, then you've got no business griping.
Yes, it would be nice to furnish those kids who wouldn't ordinarily have breakfast with organic, locally-sourced produce and grass-fed beef, served by virgins. But since that's not happening, maybe we should just all be quiet until we learn to smile and say thank you to those who actually show up.
So who are they, the heroes? Those will tell you what needs to be done, or those who just do it?
I need to know, because tax day is right around the corner, and I need to know further how this affects me, on account of I haven't done my taxes yet.
I need to just sit down and grind them out. I have an early-morning breakfast day with three of my favorite girls in the morning, and I should rush right home and take m'dawg to get her nails clipped and then just do it.
And on Monday morning, when I know what the damage is, I need to call the payroll company and have them start taking more out of my paycheck so the whole thing will stop being my annual nightmare.
I have a tax bill so big from the year-before-last that I'm going to have to take some money from a retirement fund to just pay it off. Normally I wouldn't do that, but the economy is such that the interest and penalties are more than I'm making on the fund and I'm going to be working decades longer to make it all up.
In non-governmental news, I have been reading my friend Amanda's blog (which I would link to, but I don't know if she's okay with that), and I always forget how much she is just one of my ten favorite people, for so many reasons both big and small. She looks so tiny and delicate, but I have never seen her not roll up her sleeves and just do what needs to be done. If you had to pick someone to go on a top-secret mission, she'd be the best person, because she'd just hike up her skirt and get it done.
I am truly, truly blessed to be surrounded by great friends like her.
Just like what the discharge papers at the hospital said, I have internal derangement of my knee. The Very Nice and Extremely Cute orthopaedist (don't hassle me, that's how it's spelled on the sign) gave me the medical terminology for that: your knee is jacked up.
I have a little bit of osteoarthritis.
Apparently a little goes a long way.
He gave me a cortisone shot in my knee and a prescription for Mobic, which seems to be more or less like Aleve, except easier on the digestive system.
The cortisone shot didn't hurt going in, but it hurts now. My knee is stiff and it feels full, which it is. I'm guessing it will feel better in the morning, after a good night's sleep, when it's all gone to wherever it needs to go.
As diets go, it's great and all, but you're still watching, constantly watching – watching what you eat, watching what you weigh, watching how your pants fit, watching what you put in your cart.
Only two people and my email circle (I think) know about my foray into Weight Watchers Online because I don't want the rest of the world watching my plate, watching my pants, watching my fork from the table to my mouth and back.
This comes up at the moment because one of my errands this afternoon was to The Container Store to buy lunch containers. Then I stopped by the grocery for my weekly shopping.
I just spent half an hour assembling lunch and breakfast for the week, and snacks too, because I can't leave room for error. I know exactly how many points each container, er, contains, and when I will consume it.
There were a few vegetables I couldn't get at the store I was at, and I'm in a little bit of a panic about getting them tomorrow after work, because what if it storms? I won't feel like stopping, and that will throw off dinners for the whole week, and I will err.
Losing weight takes a long time. It takes longer than gaining it does, for sure. Every time I can't get something, or I forget something, or there's a blip in the pattern, it's a potential setback for me, a pound deferred to next week, or the next week, or the next month, or maybe just...never.
Last night was my first big challenge and it was okay. I had prepared all week for it.
It just seems sometimes like I will never have another spontaneous meal in my life.
Wednesday evening, I was sitting on the couch with my dog, minding my own business, just like I always do, when I got a terrible pain just under and to the left of my right knee.
It hurt like stink.
I took a couple or three Aleve and it didn't stop, so I took my puppy and went to take a nap (like you do) to see if it would go away. It was so painful that I couldn't go to sleep.
Now. I am not a person who can't go to sleep. I once slept through the laser show at Stone Mountain. On the ground. I pride myself on the ability to sleep anywhere, any time, on short notice, and to wake up quickly. So you know it was bad.
Puppy and I got up and fixed some supper, and I put a bag of frozen corn (kernels, not ears) on it and knitted and watched television, thinking that would do it. We eventually shuffled off to bed, where I still was unable to sleep.
It wasn't any better Thursday morning – in fact, it was worse – so I got dressed and came on to work and called the doctor's office.
What I thought would happen was that the nurse would tell me to come by in the afternoon and they'd give me an anti-inflammatory.
What did happen was that she called me back right away and told me to stop whatever I was doing and go right to the ER and tell them my doctor said I might have a blood clot. I asked if I could finish what I was working on and she said, "No! Stop messing around and go now. And stop drinking whatever you're drinking! Just go."
The lady at the admissions desk asked me what I was there for and I told her I had a pain in my leg. She handed me a clipboard, and I said, "My doctor said to tell you I might have a blood clot." All of a sudden, I had been relieved of the clipboard and was in a chair, and all I had to do was hand over my drivers license and sign a piece of paper and they figured out the rest without me.
They wheeled me to a room and told me to take off most of my clothes and started sticking electrodes to me and putting in an IV for potential future use, and then I was off through halls and up and down elevators and in and out of secure doors and on an ultrasound table.
I watched red blood go away from my heart and blue blood go back to my heart and listened to it whoosh back and forth.
I asked the tech if it all looked okay and she said she wasn't allowed to tell me. I told her that if I were going to be bursting into tears, I'd rather do it in the dark with just her than under the fluorescent lights with a bunch of doctors and nurses later, so she did me a solid and told me I wasn't going to be crying.
She wheeled me back to my room, and a nurse came immediately and hooked a bunch of leads to my electrodes and told me they were going to watch me for an hour.
I would have knitted, but I had that pesky needle in my arm, and I quickly finished my magazine, so I emailed and texted for a while, and then I started getting antsy. I didn't know why I was being monitored, since I knew I didn't have a clot.
It turns out I was the only person in the ER who had that piece of information about my stunning lack of clot, since the hospital's network had gone down and the various departments' computers weren't talking to each other.
Plus I'd been there for five hours and was way past wanting lunch and wanting to leave and then I found out my call button didn't work, so I had to get out of bed to call for a nurse, but the leads aren't that long, so I had to pull the bed with me.
The nurses were too far away to hear me, so I hollered at a passing doctor, who asked me if I'd fallen out of bed, and I said no, I got out of bed and dragged it over here because my call button doesn't work. I want to know how they'd feel about taking me off these monitors and getting me some Xrays so I can go home.
Personally, I thought it was kind of snotty of her to say, "How about you just get back in the bed?" and then go tell them I'd fallen, but that's what she did, because a nurse came in, all worried that I'd lost my mind and patting me on the hand.
So I disconnected all my leads to see how long it would take them to notice I'd flatlined.
The Xray man finally came, but by then I was beside myself with boredom and thirst, and boy could he tell it.
He asked me about the electrodes sticking to the side rails, and I told him I'd pulled them off and stuck them there, since I DID NOT HAVE A BLOOD CLOT.
This seemed to be news to him, and he relayed it to the doctor, who came in pretty quicklike with prescriptions for what's really wrong with me, which turns out to be just a touch of osteoarthritis and a small tear of some description.
The newspaper delivery man used to bring it straight up to the office and place it on the counter, barking out, "NoozePAYpuh!" before he walked back out.
His name was Joe. I liked him. He was out for several days one time and I worried so much that I called down to the loading docks at the paper and asked where he was. When I found out he was off for a few days because his mama died, I sent flowers.
I've never laid eyes on the new paper person and thus have no such attachment to him or her. All I know is that that person brings our paper and leaves it on the security desk downstairs.
Before I go any further with this, I want to make it perfectly clear that I am quite fond of the daytime security man here. However, he does not inspire in me any great feelings of security, being as how he's not armed and he'll let anybody in the building who wants to come in.
He will also let just anybody thumb through our paper before we pick it up.
Friends, I don't like a pre-read paper. Because I don't like a pre-read paper, if I buy a Sunday paper, if I happen to have guests in my home, I buy them one, too, just so we can all have a fresh newspaper to read.
The other day I came in and had to wait for my paper, of all things, because a gentleman was standing there reading it. I was very nice about it and all, but seriously? Who makes the person whose name is on the label wait for her own paper?
This morning I came in and slowed down at the desk to pick up the paper and the security man said, "Oh, let me just finish reading this and I'll put it back together."
Fortunately I had giant sunglasses on so he couldn't see my eyebrows ascend into my hairline. I might should just start wearing them all the time.
Henry Granju, if you don't know, was the beloved son of Katie Granju, who I do not know (personally), but who is a close friend of a friend of mine.
Henry was just 18, and was, by all accounts, a wonderful young man, kind and loving and smart and funny. I have seen photos of him, and he was handsome. He had a twinkle in his eye, and in nearly all of his photos, there was a smile playing about his mouth.
I have read words that he wrote, and he was a good writer - whimsical and clever and creative, and he had good grammar and a broad vocabulary.
He was a musician, with a guitar in his hand or strapped 'cross his back nearly all the time.
Henry was also a drug addict.
Last April 27, his mother received a phone call that changed her world and that of those she loves. Henry had been brought by ambulance to the hospital and was near death, having suffered an overdose of methadone and been, apparently, beaten.
I say "apparently" because the Knoxville County Sheriff's Office doesn't seem to think that matters. Because Henry was a drug addict.
I don't know all the facts, because I wasn't there. But I know what I've read over the nearly year since it's happened, and I have come to believe some things based on the time line that Katie has constructed from the copious information that she herself has had to root around and find.
Katie, you understand, is not an investigator or a detective or a police officer. Katie is a mother and a writer.
Katie has spent nearly the last year investigating the case because Henry was "an unattractive victim."
On April 25th, Henry was involved in a drug deal gone bad and was beaten up. He didn't get the living shit beat out of him that day, though, and he wasn't dying of an overdose then.
That didn't happen until the next day when two older "friends" came to the "rescue" with an enormous dose of methadone that they got from God only knows where and gave it to him.
Then they came back and picked him up in a van and took him to their trailer. At that time he showed no signs of physical injury.
By the next morning, his "friends" were freaking out because Henry was blue and vomiting and unresponsive and they didn't want to call for help. They only did so under threat of a friend of Henry's calling the police.
From what I have read (and my reading comprehension is well above average), I believe that if Henry Granju had not entered his "friends'" van, Henry Granju would be alive today.
When Henry arrived at the hospital, he had clearly been badly beaten and was bleeding from his ears. He continued to bleed for weeks.
Henry told his mother that his "friends" had promised him some things and compelled him do some rather unsavory things with gentlemen for money and drugs.
Katie Granju reported this information about her son, hard as it was to do, to the Knox County Sheriff's Office, and offered two phones containing hundreds of corroborating text messages to them, and they declined to take the phones or interview Henry while he was still able to communicate.
Because Henry was an unattractive victim.
I call bullshit.
Henry Granju was a son, a brother, a friend, a grandson, a nephew, a beloved child, all before he was ever an addict.
I believe that had Henry Granju not entered that van, he would be alive today.
I do not believe in conspiracy theories, but I think someone at KCSO or the Knox County DA's office is dirty and is being protected. Otherwise, I simply cannot understand why when a young man is given a lethal overdose and is beaten to death, no matter who he is, it's not investigated.
Katie Granju is seeking justice for her son. But that's not all she's seeking. Knoxville is a hotbed of drug activity, and apparently child prostitution. Katie Granju is seeking to keep them from "hurting other kids," one of the last things her dying son asked her for.
It will soon be a year since Katie got that awful phone call. I hope to see significant progress in this case before then.
Henry's story is long and painful, but please take time to read it.
We read about it all the time, the sandwich generation.
I'm part of it, the sandwich generation, the generation that has to take care of its children and its aging parents simultaneously.
Only I don't have any children, so I'm relieved of that duty, and one day I'm going to be on the short end of the stick, because I'm going to be aged and alone, that old lady making her way through the grocery store because there'll be no one to do it for her.
My mother, and I'm liable to get in trouble for posting this, is slipping. Rather, she has slid.
And I am scared to death.
She is not the woman she was a year ago. She's not even the woman she was six months ago.
Early this year, she had a horrible episode in which she became so dehydrated that she went into acute renal failure, which cause encephalopathy (swelling of the brain) and was in the hospital nearly two weeks.
She was so out of her mind that she didn't know where she was and even now she has to be reminded what happened. When she's reminded, she says, "Oh. Yes, the doctor told me I could have died."
She's mainly excited that she lost 14 pounds during the whole mess.
Last night she called me to ask me to ask me how to get back on the Internet, and I told her to unplug her Airport and modem for a minute and restart her computer, and she swore she had neither - had never had them, in fact.
Of course she has them, or she never would have been on the Internet to start with, and besides, she's done all that before without me telling her to.
And just like that, I was antagonizing her by telling her to do something with materials she didn't have.
I know she snapped because she was frustrated. And I know she is in there, somewhere near the surface, and I cannot pull her back out.
I knew that one day it would come. I did not expect it to come all at once, jelly side down.
It turns out that riding a bike is not just like riding a bike.
I took my orange beauty out for her first ride yesterday and it all went quickly haywire.
At first it was glorious.
I was wearing my padded skins underneath my shorts, so as not to get seat fatigue on my, er, seat, and I had a water bottle. The weather was glorious.
I had forgotten the heady delight of careening down a hill full-tilt-boogie, like a dog with its head out the window. I was going so fast, I had to slow myself down with my hand brakes, even.
There were people out working in their yards who looked up at me and grinned at my obvious delight, waving with their gloved hands as I flew past in my purple shorts and Converse sneakers, giddy and giggling.
Then I went around the curve. You never think your neighborhood is hilly until you ride your bike around it. I'm really out of shape.
And then my chain came off. I couldn't stop. Fortunately I'm still agile enough (barely) to jump the curb and bail off in the grass without hurting myself.
I've had this happen, of course, years ago. But never with so many gears to contend with. I was trying to put it back on, but no cigar. I flipped the bike over and was mechanicing when my phone rang. It was important, so I answered it.
I would have thought that my answer to "what are you doing?" would have prompted the caller to say, "Oh, I'll talk to you later," but no, the conversation was longish. Finally AT&T saved me by dropping the call.
I turned the bike back over and still couldn't get the chain back on. I was a good mile from home, but I was resigned to pushing it home, so I shoved off. Shortly I ran across a young man outside with his dog and asked if he could put it back for me. He said sure, could I hold his Pit?
So I held his dog and he fixed my bike.
I gave him my five dollar bill and went on home, where I had to lie on the sofa and catch my breath.
We grew other things, too, but nothing with the immediate gratification of sugarcane, tall stalks waving in the hot, flat breeze, a perfect place to go on adventures in our minds.
When it was time to cut the stalks, my cousins and I always rode on the sides of Harold's pickup truck, cheering on the cutters. They'd cut off a few knuckles and hand them up to us and we'd turn into truck-riding gargoyles, gnawing and sucking on the stringy thick stalks.
While we all knew that the Dixie Crystals sugar in the cabinets back at the house was cane sugar, I don't think we understood the immediacy of it all. To us, cane stalks went to the place with the mules, just this side of the Oconee River bridge where the elderly mule with the sunhat spent her days walking around in a circle, grinding the cane down so it could go on to wherever it went after that.
I'm not real clear on the parts I couldn't see happening.
What I knew was that when that cane left that mule, it went to the little shack about twenty yards away and was boiled down in big black caldrons that I thought were used at night to boil down bad city children.
The next time I saw the cane, it was in the form of cane syrup, either in the square bottles labeled Pinetucky Cane Syrup, or in a glass Dr. Pepper or Coca-Cola bottle with a cork in the top. We usually got a boxful of those bottles, labeled with masking tape and magic marker.
We didn't think it was odd to get a whole box of syrup, any more than we thought it was odd to eat everything in the freezer under the carport before our cow and hog, all but the moo and the squeal, came back to us, neatly wrapped in white freezer paper and identified by strange markings scrawled in china pencil.
But anyway. I never had syrup that came from a tree until I was 16 and my enrichment class went to the World's Fair in Knoxville. There was also cream of wheat, which I thought was a bowlful of wallpaper paste. I remember vividly putting the first bite of waffle (!) in my mouth and panicking, then grabbing my napkin and scrambling under the table to spit it out before it killed me.
It's hard to find good cane syrup anymore, I guess because it's strong, and the flavor isn't for the weak-willed. Anytime I'm driving through a rural area and I see a place selling boil'd p-nuts, I stop and see if they have any cane syrup, and if they do, I buy as much as I have singles for, then I ship some to my friend Beaufort, up in Michigan, where the infidels are.
I hadn't been able to find any lately, but one night I ventured over to My Dekalb Farmers Market and spied one dusty can of Steen's, forgotten at the back of one the deep shelves. I snatched it up and brought it home and have been using up my high-dollar-fancypants olive oil from Spain as fast as I could so I'd have a suitable bottle to pour it in. I finally got to the end of the olive oil about a week ago and washed out the bottle several times and let it air dry real good.
This morning I got out the funnel and poured it over from the can into the bottle.
I put my finger in the thin coat remaining in the can and licked it.
I'm pretty sure I saw the face of God. He grinned at me.
(note: this is a repost from my other blog. I thought it worth sharing)
Do people really ever look up at the sky at night and see the stars, so many light years away, burning so bright, and say to somebody, "Our God is an awesome God"?
I'm not saying he (or she) isn't an awesome God, I'm just wondering if people say those kinds of things in passing conversation, as opposed to, say, "Miracles happen everyday!" after the birth of a child, or when a patient wakes up from a coma.
I have often been awed - am fortunate to still be awed that birds can get off the ground, even - but I don't know that I have ever voiced to anyone that particular exclamation of my awe, in those exact words, nor heard anyone else do so, aside from in song.
Questions of this nature come up this time of year (for me) because it is the beginning of the Lenten season - the holiest season in Christianity - and though I am Protestant, I attend an Ash Wednesday service and give up something for Lent.
Not only am I Protestant, I am Baptist, but of the backslidden variety, as I have not attended the church I am a member of for a few years now. I justify it by saying that they have nothing for me, really - I am a single woman in my mid-40s. I don't belong in any of the Sunday school groups. I don't fit. I've spoken with the pastors there, they agree I don't fit; they don't feel moved to be more inclusive, they just...agree.
This year Ash Wednesday holds even deeper meaning for me, though, because I am taking my small godson with me to the service.
While it is true that Baptists don't baptize infants, and we don't have godparents and godchildren as a general rule, somehow I was chosen as the very fortunate champion for this amazing child, and just like a good Episcopalian, I stood up in front of God and a whole church full of people and forswore all evil and promised to guide him.
When I was little, I liked to play Meeting, because my daddy went to them, and I thought it was terribly grown up to Go To Meetings.
Now I'm grown up and I know from years of going to them that they're pure damn evil.
When I worked at the paper, meetings would drone on and on and on, and they were usually about how the assistants (me and my little underling friends) could be replaced by any idiot off the street. When I became an underling of a higher caliber, the meetings became about how Deadlines! Must! Be! Met! and Approval! Tickets! Must! Be! Kept! To! A! Minimum!
I became so jaded by meetings that I started sitting near the door so I could get up and walk out, turning around at the door and saying, "Send me a memo, would you? I got deadlines."
We don't have many meetings around here, but when we do, they strike fear in my heart. Today we had one and my innards are still roiling.
The economy is bad, friends. We produce an expensive product, and people are hanging on to their money in ways that are harshing our groove.
So we have to expand our way of thinking, come out of our shells about how we're going to reach more people, get the ones who don't know we're here, and we've got what they need.
The good news is, we do have what they need. We're literally at the top of our industry, because we've outlasted the competition. We do good work here, work that I'm proud of, work that I personally stand behind.
We have laid out a course of action, and we will follow it until we need to change it, and it will be okay, because we work hard here.
And I will be okay, because I always have been before. There just aren't any other options.
But I just ran into my friend Andrew at the grocery store during lunch, and that makes anything that's wrong just a little better.
I've known him since he was a baby, just about 24 hours old, and I have loved him since that very minute.
He had bright orange hair and bright blue eyes, and he grew into a laughing freckled little boy, and now he has bright orange hair and bright blue eyes and he is a laughing freckled young man, about to go off to college.
It seems like just five minutes since he nearly grew out of his baptismal gown before he could be baptized, but really it's been almost 18 years.
I used to babysit him, and when I'd get to the house, he'd be sitting on the front steps, wearing his firefighter pajamas and firehat, and his mother's snowboots and sunglasses, dressed as a firefighter, waiting for me to arrive.
He was, hands-down, the sweetest kid I've ever known.
When I saw him in the grocery today, he had come for "this cheese dip I like" and some flank steak to make beef jerky.
I asked him if he'd ever made beef jerky, or if he had a recipe. He said no, but he likes beef jerky, and he figures he'd like it more if it were flavored like he wants it, and it can't be that hard.
He's also whimsical.
So we set off for the meat department and looked through the meat, and ended up asking one of the meat men, who it turns out makes beef jerky all the time, and he gave us an earful. The meat man told him which piece of meat would be best, and told the butcher how to cut it for him, and Andrew was off. We looked at the seasonings, and discussed what to look for for recipes, and I got my cereal and we went our separate ways.
I remembered when I was nearly back to the office to call him and tell him to put the meat in the freezer for a little bit to make it easier to cut in strips, and to cut it with a scissors, and he took the advice easily, because he always wants to know a better way to do things.
Tomorrow night we're going out to dinner, because Andrew loves to go to dinner, so long ago I started taking him out for Christmas and birthday, and afterwards, I'll take him to Star Provisions, because he'll like that - he'll like the variety of salts and peppers and seasonings, and he'll like the cuts of meats hanging in the freezer locker, and he'll like the smelly cheeses.
I'm going to miss that kid when he goes away to college next year.
In case there's any question, I bought a bicycle, not a motorcycle.
I've been trying to decide whether to join a gym or get a bike, but the bare truth is that if I have to drive myself to it, I won't go.
"Walking" is recommending, but it takes forever and I hate walking around things for the hell of it, and there's really nothing to walk to in my neighborhood. I don't mind running, particularly, but I do mind getting up early enough to do it before it's too hot here to do it without passing out.
Biking is just more efficient.
And besides, I like riding bikes.
I went last year and looked at bikes, but the selection was just daunting, so I left.
This time I researched ahead of time. I spent a lot of time reading reviews and specs and figuring out what I need and want my bike to do.
I didn't want the bike itself to be too heavy, and I'd rather be somewhat upright than hunched forward on it. I want to wear sneakers, not cycling shoes. I'm not going to be going off-road with it (on purpose, anyway). I have no special need for speed. More than 10 speeds will be too many. It should not be pink.
After all that looking on the internet, I was still confused, so I looked on the website of my favorite bike shop (where I used to get my old bike tuned up, before an old roommate hocked it), and it said RIGHT THERE that if I had questions, I should ask Mike, so I called him up and asked him.
And now I'm the proud owner of an Electra Townie Original 7D. They're building it for me and I'm picking it up tomorrow. I'm also the somewhat reluctant owner of a shiny black helmet, which I won't enjoy wearing, but I will if I'm riding with the children or there's traffic.
I used to pull out about as much as I had knitted, because I cannot stand a mistake.
I don't do that as much as I used to, because with much practice has come some small degree of expertise.
Last night I was knitting along and I came to a place where something was obviously wrong.
You wouldn't be able to tell when I'm finished with the piece that something is wrong, because it's as easy as knitting two together (K2tog) twice to fix it, which I did, and I went on for two more long rows before going to bed.
It has been sitting in my giant pocketbook all day, taunting me.
And now, just like that, I am pulling it back out.
I've worn glasses or contacts since third grade, so it's not like it's a surprise I can't see, but it's a surprise that I'm also far-sighted now.
Presbyopia, they call it. They tell me it's because of my age.
I'm told that soon I'll start having other symptoms of being middle-aged, like wearing double-knit stretch pants with matching tops and having my hair set.
At my eye doctor appointment last year, the (very young and very pretty) eye doctor had the nerve to tell me that my corneas are aged. I told her to just write my damn prescription so I could go.
Now I go to a different eye doctor. He's older and has free parking.
About a year and a half ago, I started having to stand up to read things on my desk, and sit further back to work on the computer, and I'm only so tall. I panicked a little, because I have been near-sighted to the point that I can't see the features on the face of a person sitting on the couch beside me without corrective lenses my whole life.
My neurophthalmologist looked deep into my eyes and told me to get some reading glasses, so I did, and that fixed my reading problem. Now if I go to a restaurant without my readers, someone has to lend me some or read the menu to me. This is why I can only go to nice restaurants, because only nice restaurants usually keep spare readers around.
Only now my vision has changed again and I can't read street signs – I only know where I am, really, based on how long the sign is and what buildings are nearby.
I explained all this to my new eye doctor and he gave me new trial lenses which were even worse, except now I don't need my readers.
He also gave me a prescription for new glasses with progressive lenses (which I figured out several hours later meant bifocals), and the reader portion is too weak and I can't read at all with them, so either way, I'm screwed.
I picked up new sample lenses today and Thursday I have to go back and have my vision checked with my glasses on, so in the theoretical world, it'll all get fixed, but it's crazy making.
Saturday I had to go to the mall to get my iPad looked at at the Genius Bar.
While on my way to the Genius Bar, I was waylaid at Teavana to sample some of their Delicious Tea. It was so delicious that I had the young lady write down the name of it so that I could come back and get it after my appointment; you never want to miss your appointment at the Genius Bar, because the good Lord only knows when you'll get another one.
I guess they get that a lot at Teavana, because she looked at me a little disappointedly and sent me on my way.
So I went to my appointment and then piddled around at Anthropologie and bought a birthday present, and then went to Macy's and looked at shoes for a minute. I was just about to walk out of the mall when I remembered I wanted some of that Delicious Tea (youthberry and orange something), so I turned around and went back, and the young lady was ecstatic.
She asked me if I would just be getting the tea, or if I also wanted a "method to make it." The "method to make it" appeared to be a Pyrex teapot, so I said no, I have a teapot, and she took me on up to the counter to the young man and told him I'd be the sucker buying the featured tea.
He gave me the schpiel about the canister ($7 each) and took two of them and started scooping the two types I'd be needing and telling me how to make it, and about the sweetener, which was "pure cane rock sugar," which he started to put in another canister ($5), until I told him to put it in a bag. He tried to sell me some green tea, but I told him no, I hate green tea, and I don't want any, but thanks.
He handed the whole thing off to the cash register woman, a very official looking woman with Serious Black Glasses and a Severe Black Dress, who rang it up and asked me, with a straight face, for $162.
Because I am past 40 and my filters are shot, I said, "Can I roll it up and smoke it?"
She did not smile. She merely repeated, "$162, please."
I told her I wasn't paying $162 for tea. She said she could shake some out. I told her to put it in bags and shake A LOT of it out. She did this and came back and said, "$99."
I did some quick figuring in my head and said, "So that's what? $15 a cup?"
She said, "Well, actually, it's $14.73 a cup."
I have no idea why I stood there and listened to her arguments for why it would be reasonable to pay $14.73 per cup for tea, or why I pointed out to her that I don't pay $14.73 for a drink in a bar (not that I buy my own drinks in bars) with liquor in it, or why I told her that for $14.73, a guaranteed permanently sober Robert Downey, Jr. would have to serve me that tea in the nude daily and tell me I'm pretty, besides.
Finally I realized what I was doing and stopped talking and told her thank you, that she had been very nice and all, but despite the fact that I can afford $15 a cup for tea, I'm not going to, and I had to leave. And I left.
When I got to my car and was about to pull out of my spot, I thought, "Where is my Anthropologie bag?"
I had left it in the damn Teavana, which of course I can never go in again.
I ran another errand or two and called them and told them I'd been in there just browsing earlier and had set it down, and asked had anyone found it. Once they located it, I gave them my name and told them I'd come get it the next day. It was all going fine until the guy turned out to be the one who'd packed up my $162 worth of tea and he'd be there again the next day. Argh.
I called my friend Ellie and asked her if she could go with me to the mall on Sunday and go in somewhere and get something I'd left, to which she responded, "Why? Did you make an ass of yourself in there and now you can't go back?"
He had been dying for two years, and she had been with him the whole time, taking care of him, while we, her friends, stood by and watched.
It has not been an easy two years for my friend, nor for her dad, nor would it have been for her mom.
I have known my friend since college, back when the earth was cooling.
We were so very young then.
Sometimes we go for ten years without seeing each other, and when we do again, it's just like your parents said (and you thought they were being silly): you haven't changed a bit.
We run into each other's arms and hang on for dear life, and though the years have added tiny lines to the corners of our eyes and not-so-tiny pounds to our rear ends, we are still as young as we were then.
Today my heart aches for her, and I send up a little prayer, and in my mind's eye, she is traipsing around in sweat pants and pearls, organizing, a fuzzy navel in an opaque cup, too young still for such a job.
If you get a little slip of paper under your windshield wiper that says, "Quit parking like an asshole," I probably put it there.
It makes me nuts when people park so close to my car that I can't get in it without getting my clothes dirty. And yes, I should get my car washed (or wash it my own self) more frequently, but that's not the point.
There are two lines right there on the pavement to park between, and you know that the car you're parking beside didn't get there by itself, so somebody's got to get back in it to move it. If your excuse is that it's So Big, then get a smaller car. What are you hauling in that thing, anyway? People who really haul things are capable of parking practically anything, you know.
I'm also infuriated by people who come out of the store or the doctor's office or the restaurant and get in their cars and...do nothing. I don't know what they're doing in their cars, but they're not leaving in them. Once you've left the establishment and stowed things in the trunk and secured any children, animals, and elderly people in their seats, your business is concluded, and you need to come up off that spot. It should not take two minutes to vacate, and while you might not have anything else planned for the day, I sure do.
See how all those cars are parked on the diagonal going that way? That means you're only supposed to drive that way, right down the middle, not on either side, and when you see cars pulling out, you let them do it, because they can't see around the tails of the cars and trucks around them as well as you can see them. And if you're waiting for that person who's going to get out of that spot in a timely fashion, you turn your blinker on, see, and the people behind you know you're not just twiddling your thumbs.
If you're a pedestrian in the parking lot, you don't walk in the way of traffic, because you don't know those people – they don't give a rat's hiney about you and they are not paying attention and they have places to get to and they will run you right over, right before being all sorry about it.
I had a tiny little skin cancerette removed from under my nose, and it's a rich source of blood vessels there. I can feel the blood pulsing there right now, this has got me so het up.
Where I grew up, in rural Georgia, it was a 15-minute trip to get to town. Town-town, where you'd get your hair cut or buy a pair of shoes or real groceries or underpants, not Rentz, where you might run if you needed to get a smallish check cashed, or you needed a dozen eggs to make a cake, or you were pining for a Coca-Cola or some Pet ice cream.
We lived with my grandmother (Grandmother or Grandmama, not Granny, heaven forbid), and I was with her constantly if I wasn't in school. My grandmother would have died before she'd have left the house without getting dressed, and she'd have sooner sprouted wings and flown before taking anybody to town with her who wasn't shined up, too.
To get to town, we drove up 441, and it was impossible not to drive past the home of a particular family of indeterminate means. I should say their means were indeterminate to me, just as ours were. I thought we were filthy rich because in every direction you could look from our house, it all belonged to relatives.
This particular home was sided with shingles of some description and was the type with steep-pitched tin roof with a deep front porch supported by a post at either end, and one on either side of the steps. Between the posts was a shelf made of 2x8 pieces of lumber, a place to set your drink down, were you to be outside cooling off, as you likely were to be, as air conditioning was not widespread in the 70s.
Living in this home was a woman my mother told me was a washerwoman. She didn't tell me anything else, though I constantly asked. This washerwoman had a penchant for sitting in her mean little rocker with the missing rockers, her feet thrown up on that shelf, her dress pulled up around her thighs.
When I went to town with Grandmother, as we passed by that house, she would hold her foot down hard on the gas, a death grip on the steering wheel, and stare straight ahead, saying, every time, "Just like a slattery."
I finally worked up the nerve to ask her what a slattery was, and she merely replied, "Something you will never be."