Category Archives: Life and Times

Soul Corrosion

Sunday my husband and I stopped to make a purchase before delivering Easter baskets to our grandchildren. We came out to the car and I could hear a woman screaming obscenities. She was on the sidewalk we’d just left. I assumed the usual don’t look, don’t engage posture I learned living in the badbadbad part of Portland many years ago. I opened the truck door and got in only to lock eyes with the woman standing about 15 feet from me. She screamed at me, spit at me, and then swung her coat in anger and started stalking away. After a few steps she turned and spit again and then left. We watched her cross the parking lot into an empty field across from the store.

Homelessness and mental illness were obvious. It was a sad to see a person so corroded by a harsh life. Especially on Resurrection Day.

Fast forward to this morning.

Saturday I was kneecapped by a couple of family members. (Metaphorically. Not that we are such a high-class bunch, but there was no physical violence.) I live with one of the people and had tried to think rationally and keep my powder dry on this. Particularly since this person is in the early stages of dementia. (We are one step away from being that commercial where the guy’s father forgets how to brush his teeth.)

Anyway, today was the day to try and work things out. The person will not even acknowledge the actions of Saturday, and brought up a topic that she circles whenever things get tense.

And then she said, “And you’re always bragging about your writing.”

HA! Again I say, HA!

My writing career is pretty much a dried up husk. I published two books a million years ago and she thinks because I come upstairs to get some time alone to think, I’m bragging.   I can feel the corrosion of my soul in the midst of this. Pretty soon, my soul will look just like my writing career. Or the lady screaming and spitting in the parking lot.

My point in all this is to ask, do you go for the knees when you’re arguing? My natural tendency is to try and hit a clever, snotty tone without looking cheap and low-class. Most of the time I can’t accomplish that so just walk away from confrontation.

What do you do when goaded?

BTB, I acted like a jerk and screamed at this person in my home. But only after she screamed at me. Yeah, that’s no justification. I think I need one of these:

Image courtesy of imgarcade.com

 

We Don’t Usually …

do winter like this:

snosm

To those of you who live in places where snow it a fact-of-life, I apologize if I sound whiny. I’m not. I grew up in North Idaho where feet of snow is the norm. Here in western Oregon. we have snow every few years. But it melts quickly and we return to rain. Not so this year. I’ve had snow for over two weeks now. It’s snowing heavily now.

A rare treat.

I don’t appreciate it.

Fingers crossed that my husband’s boss cancels his shift.

Shameless self promotion: I just got a comment from Robin Helm that I should use a raging snowstorm as a plot device. Well, I have. I’m currently writing my way through THE WENTWORTH GUIDE TO ROMANCE AND TRAVEL on Beyond Austen.  (BA is a members-only site, but registration is simple and no SPAM, ever.) There’s snow, longing looks across the room, snow, a carriage accident, snow, and a bit of a growing mystery about Mr Elliot’s late wife. If you’re snowed in like me, please give it a try.

 

Giving Thanks

thanksgivingIn 1621, the Pilgrims, Puritans, and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the American colonies. After that initial celebration, for more than two hundred years, thanksgiving days were celebrated separately by individual colonies and states. Thanksgiving was first celebrated on the same date by all states in 1863 by Abraham Lincoln’s presidential proclamation.

Lincoln’s aim appears to have been to reunify the Northern and Southern states in the wake of the Civil War. I feel that our country has been through another civil war of sorts in the past couple of decades.

Perhaps we need to reflect on all the ways in which we have been blessed.

I have been virtually absent for many weeks on this blog, Beyond Austen, and social media. My sister, Gayle, was diagnosed with cancer in early summer. She has had three months of treatments, sickness, and pain. Last week, she underwent a scan to see whether or not the treatment was working. Frankly, her doctors didn’t give her much hope. Had the scan revealed the cancer had spread, or had not been significantly reduced in her lymph system and colon, they were ready to advise her to discontinue treatment and enjoy the time she had left on this earth. She is strong. I am not. I was not in any way ready to face a world which my sister had left. Selfish, I know.

However, God is good, and He answers prayer. Thousands of prayers were offered on her behalf. Her students and fellow teachers supported her. Our church loved her through the process. Our family prayed continuously.

three-sisters

I’m in the middle. To the left is my sister Layne, a breast cancer survivor, and to the right is Gayle. I’m holding my younger granddaughter, and Gayle is cuddling the elder. This picture was made while my daughter was home from overseas a couple of weeks ago.

A few days ago, she received good news for a change. The results of the scan showed not the cancer had spread, but that it was all gone. All of it. None in her colon, lymph system, or liver. She is the first survivor of this type of cancer in stage 4. Only ten cases of it have been reported since the 1920’s. There was no treatment protocol, so her team of doctors established one.

Gayle will likely have another chemo treatment and radiation to be on the safe side, but she will bear it with grace, beauty, and dignity, just as she has borne everything else in her sixty-six years.

Gayle is a person who makes the world a better place by living in it. We are very blessed to have her with us for however many more years the Lord sees fit to leave her here.

We all have much for which to be thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Jane Started It.

 

 

 

The Exact Science of Life

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There were problems with everything swimming at the Rio Olympics. Swimmers aside, after a week of green water, spokesman Mario Andrada said: “We have learnt that chemistry is not an exact science.”

Now that’s funny.

Apparently, telling the truth is a bit mercurial as well.

Blame_it_on_rio

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I guess this is now a full-fledged life choice.

What Happens When Two Bad Habits Collide

Courtesy Avenue G, Flickrr, Creative Commons

Courtesy Avenue G, Flickr, Creative Commons

I am sitting around waiting for a new debit card. By the title of this post, you might think I had a great calamity befall me. Nah, nothing that exciting. Come to think, my problem came about not by way of two bad habits. I think it was more What Happens When a Character Flaw and a Bad Memory Join Forces. That doesn’t trip off the tongue so I went in another direction.

Here’s what happened: in May, I ordered a mattress cover. A puffy mattress cover that would change my life according to the host of the HSN show. It was on sale for a good price, but since I am loathe to spend more than ten dollars at a time, I ordered it using their free Flex Pay option.  I could have paid the full price but the full cost gave me the willies. I got the cover immediately, put it on the bed and forgot about the arrangement.

Until last Wednesday. I saw the charge for $20 and just KNEW i hadn’t ordered anything from HSN recently. I called my credit union. The customer service agent looked through my account and found ANOTHER charge from HSN in July. Quelle suprise! Our conclusion was that my account had been  COMPROMISED. (Yes, I felt unclean.) The CU decided to issue me a new card.

I went to HSN and found that Wednesdays’ payment, I had paid off my mattress cover and was encouraged to buy more stuff.

In my defense, starting in June, I coordinated the move of my mother from North Idaho, and have been getting used to another adult in the house. My ability to keep track of even the most mundane chores and obligations has been compromised.

No, I didn’t call the credit union and fess up. I am waiting for the new card and dreading trying to remember a new PIN while forgetting the old one–the one I’ve had for nearly six years.

Resolved: No Flex Pays. From now on, I will be writing down everything.

Thanks for listening. Now I’m off to change Mom’s auto-pay accounts for Direct TV and Verizon. Those people play rough and will do more than make me learn a new PIN.

LIfe Imitates Tech

im-a-good-puppy_o_1168916This morning I got on Facebook and read a post about cats and a Roomba. How someone piled their car into a ditch on a dark country road last night. Impairment has not been ruled out. There was a lot about the Democratic Convention I skimmed over. And I enjoyed several memes people put up cataloging their astonishment at making it through another Monday without committing a felony. The usual.

Then a post came up about a priest being beheaded in France. I didn’t click the link. The next post was an ad for Amazon’s Deal of the Day. I didn’t click that link either. I figured nothing Amazon cut the price on could match loss of life.

Cats, car wrecks, conventions, death, deals.

This is our life on tech.