RSS Feed

Monthly Archives: August 2006

Bill Hendry

Yesterday, at 6.22, Mark’s father passed away.


 


I had gone over in the morning to give Dianne an hour out of the house, just to get coffee and breathe. In the afternoon, I took Sonia, Mark’s mother, out for a pedicure and manicure. This was just an excuse to pry her outside where the sun still shines, and to give Dianne a break. Sometimes, what people need most is just some touching, and she did say that the pampering “saved” her.


 


When we returned, we could see Bill was failing, so I went to get Mark at the house site, and the kids and we all visited for an hour. Then, quietly, his breathing got shallow with long pauses in between, and eventually it just stopped. It was very peaceful – with all his loved ones nearby (although, regretfully, Denver came a short bit later due to the fact that we had to call her at work). I don’t suppose it could have been any better, considering the circumstances.


 


I’m glad my kids were there. They were sad, of course, but they handled it well, and it gave them a chance to ask questions. I don’t want them to be afraid of death and it doesn’t hurt for them to see their dad cry or the last exchange between a man and his wife after 60 years of living together. It is all a part of life and serves to remind them that “how” we live is very important.


 


After someone passes away in the intimate surroundings of their own home, Hospice must arrive to declare them legally dead and then the funeral home will come to take them away. That means the body remains at home for a few hours. It was lovely to watch family members stop by to stroke Bill’s hand or kiss his head. And about an hour later, I see that he has some small flowers in his hand. Apparently, Neva went outside to cry, then picked flowers and put them in his palm and a few on his chest. It was touching.


 


I told her I was proud that she wasn’t afraid, and she leaned in to me and whispered, “You know, Mom, that isn’t really Grandpa anymore.” And she rolled her eyes upward as if to remind me where Grandpa was now. Obviously, the talking is good.


 


It was a quiet day, sad yet satisfactory too, one that reminds me of how precious life is and how fleeting. Amazing how our lives, our presence, affects others and influences their experience of living, even if you aren’t attempting to do so.        

Pictures to distract me

I am alone tonight. Every other evening, my husband has been sleeping at his sisters to give her a break and a chance to catch up on her sleep. They’ve had a rough week. It looks as if their father will pass on tonight or tomorrow.  While it is cancer that brought him down, in the end, he will technically die of dehydration and/or starvation as the body shuts down, which makes for a dismal, drawn out end. I don’t want to write about this, because I think it is intrusive considering the sensitivity of the issue and my ability to state observations with honesty and/or reflection that isn’t always sugar coated or inspirational. I don’t want to add to what is a very difficult emotional time, or make it about me, so I will not reflect upon this event in our lives, but I will say that I feel for my husband and his sister, and I myself am lonely and sad this week. Leaves me feeling non-conversational, as if words jam up in my throat (or fingers) because I can’t bare to explore what I’m feeling for fear it will open floodgates better left to simmer privately.

But I will leave you with some pictures – examples of the more positive things going on in our lives.  There is always a positive side to life, and the knack to being happy is learning to focus there. So, “there” I’ll go. 


I thought you might enjoy seeing Kathy. Note her shirt. Ha. This is a girl determined to stay clean!
I couldn’t get her to smile. She is like those pictures of the country man and his wife with the pitchfork that are solemn and stern. What is it about country people that they think pictures demand a serious grimace? Anyway, this was Monday, before she cut her hair. On Wednesday, she had a haircut – the first she’s had in 25 years. Her hair was down to her waist, but she had a “makeover.” She is making herself over in every way imaginable. Go Kathy!



Ah ha – a smile at last! It was a bad hair day for me. Be lenient with your Ginny evaluation here.

This is a picture of the blueberries I picked today while waiting for the horse to eat. I picked the same amount yesterday, and the day before and the day before, and the day before. You get my drift. I am drowning in blueberries. They say life is good if it is a bowl of cherries. I say it is pretty good when it is a bowl of blueberries too.
  
For those of you who have been losing sleep because you can’t wrap your brain around this notion of my chickens being exquisite – silkies and afro-headed cutie-pies, here is a pix. Gotta admit they are more interesting than normal Purdue chickens!


Last but not least, the house is coming along. Mark is creating all kinds of new, remarkable treatments that wow the workers and visitors. People are coming to the house because it is the talk of the town and asking if they can use Mark’s designs. His work stands out and others want to hire him now. Doesn’t surprise me or any of you who have worked with him creatively in the past, I guess.  In the entryway, Mark has rough sawn wood tinted dark with bark edged wood on top to give depth, character and an artistic flavor. It is gorgeous. I don’t think the picture does justice, but I’ll put it in anyway.   This is an unfinished area, but you can see how it is coming along.


Last but not least, Mark doing the one thing that helps him forget his troubles. Loving his logs. Gee, who’d a thought a girl like me would ever grow up to be jealous of a log? Amazing what your competition is when you’ve been married a long time. I’ve heard of golf-widows, but log-widows? I think I’m the first. Pardon the size of my pictures tonight. I don’t want to mess around saving them resized and all. I’m not feeling creative.


Good night.

Revelations about me, an author

“So, when we have made every effort to understand, we are ready to take upon ourselves the mystery of things; then the most trivial of happenings is touched by wonder, and there may come to us, by grace, a moment of unclouded vision.”         Helen Luke, Old Age


 


     One of my assignments in regards to working on my novel is to write an annotated Bibliography of books on the market that pertain to my subject mater. In my case, I am searching for books on aging artists, retiring dancers and the like. I don’t have to read these books, just know they exist and research them enough to know what is out there in the publishing world. I then must write a short annotation to prove I’m immersed in my theoretical subject.


 


    Of course, once I began researching books on my novel subject, I couldn’t help but want to read them. Heck, the assignment is founded in logic. It is vital to grasp all you can on the subject you are writing about – for inspiration, revealing truth and to know what competition you might have. No reason to write a book that someone has beaten you to, ya know. I’ve always read history books, obvious vehicles for research, when writing a historical romance, but it wouldn’t occur to me to research those things I think I already know, like what it is like to be an older dancer. Duh.  But I’ve learned that you can always probe deeper into the shadows with a fresh mind (author) to guide you . 


 


     So, last night I started browsing a book so I could write an annotation today. Dang, if didn’t have to read the entire thing into the wee hours. Good book. Vital. And just as my teacher no doubt knew, it will add depth to what I am working on. I’m sure not all books I research will affect me this way, but a few will. It is worth wading through many to find the pertinent few.


 


    This is why I love being in this MFA program. It forces me to do more than just write – it forces me to think, to explore deeper messages and to study great examples of literature, which influence my voice. This gives me approaches and tools for writing a better book. At least, in theory.


 


     So, I just wrote an annotation, and since I think it turned out relevant to several of my recent blogs (one about crows feet, admitting my age, and my noticing details and enjoying a simpler life) I thought I would share it. It isn’t a literary or academic masterpiece. I have to do 24 of these suckers, so there is only so much time I will devote to them, but it tells a bit about me and my project in a backdoor sort of way.


 


Here goes:   


 


       Autumn Gospel, Women in the Second Half of Life, by Kathleen Fischer is a book about the spiritual dimensions of a woman’s middle years. The book explores how society views older woman and how these views affect the aging female’s sense of worth, personal attitudes, and state of mind. The dilemmas older women face are portrayed through stories, philosophical theories, cultural examples and biblical quotes, but inspirational examples of these same issues follow to counteract these realities, encouraging a new attitude which will help women age with pride, grace and in the spirit of celebration for their contributions to the world.


     Autumn Gospel gives insight to the mental conflicts women fighting the natural process of aging struggle with, making it a pertinent resource for my book, Diary of a Dancer’s Divorce. Not only does Autumn Gospel authenticate the struggles of Dana, the aging dancer in my novel, but this book offers a deeper look into the many levels of frustration my character is encountering, helping me to explore how and why negativity is associated to aging in a career focused on youthful vigor.


      A central factor in the plot of my novel also happens to be Dana’s journaling (the diary) something, which this author, Kathleen Fisher, recommends all aging women try as a means to heal emotional, hurt.


    She states, “I have observed two things about journaling. It is hard to begin, but once begun, the process develops a creative energy of its own. A woman who came to me for therapy discovered both these truths. She thought it might help her to keep a journal, but she resisted the process, finding numerous things to do with her time instead. Gradually she began making short entries in a notebook. These became longer and she eventually found herself filling whole journals. In the process she discovered the depth and range of her own inner life; creativity previously hidden from her. Her journal-keeping both mirrored her growth process and moved it in new directions.”


    I found this interesting, for I am attempting to use my character’s journaling as a tool for introducing philosophical theory about dance as an art form and how it affects an individual’s human development, while also using it as a vehicle for Dana’s personal growth and understanding of what she is feeling and why. Her journal is significant in helping her evolve and come to terms with her art and her place in it as an older artist – the core focus of the novel. I introduced this element of the novel as something she does at the suggestion of a therapist. Now, I am content that this choice is realistic.


   As a mature woman myself, I found Autumn Gospel a lovely book, inspiring in its message to embrace maturity and enjoy the chance to shed the fear of growing older.  Fischer reminds us that, “A preoccupation with looking young draws energy away from a woman’s inner life and diminishes her attention to other projects.”


     Such a message relieves pressure to fight our self-imposed limits and validates the dreams we dare to harbor as mature adults, such as attempting a new creative endeavor, (in my case writing). In this way, the book serves as a valuable resource for me as an author, not only because it give my central character depth, but because it embodies a message to me as an aspiring writer as well.


    Fischer says, “Human beauty can take startling forms. At present society defines it in terms of the body’s conformity to set norms. However, the most compelling beauty emerges from the depth and texture of a person’s life and spirit, and the face seems to carry it in a special way. Our intense response to such beauty stems from qualities that evoke pleasure, satisfaction and wonder.”  


    With these words ringing in my head, I will attempt to add depth and poignancy to my novel’s main character, both in her appearance, thoughts and deeds. And I will sit at the computer attempting to accomplish this end with a belief that, because I have lived a life that taught me certain wisdoms, it is worth any and all effort to work to communicate this insight on paper.   


-End-


 


Blah, Blah, blah.


 Between you and me, I’ll say that one quote from the book struck me as memorable.



“Along with discernment, this phase of a transition calls for the simplifying of our lives. Simplicity is a creative response to the awareness of limits. Times of transition force us to trim away the nonessential. The novelist Isabel Allende explains this shift after turning fifty: “I don’t have any time to waste. I don’t have time for gossip or greed or revenge or undirected anger.” She says she is concentrating on the basics, which have to do with love.


 


Holly cow! I think this is the best example I’ve seen yet to explain what happened to me – the thing that forced me out of the dance studio and into the woods. It wasn’t about dance, or students or stress or money or wanting a donkey. It was about redefining priorities. Love.


 


Do what you will with that gem.

Now, stop distracting me, Blog Buddy. I have work to do and if I keep talking to you I’ll get in trouble. All play and no work makes Ginny a dull girl (in the MFA zone).

Ginny vs. Nature in a 50 acre ring.

       “Man against nature” has been a significant theme in literature for as long as man has set words to paper. I give you, for example, Moby Dick – a classic.  “Man against nature” is a reoccurring theme in film as well. Like one of my favorite movies, The Edge with Anthony Hopkins. Love it!


     So, it is no surprise that “Man against nature” has found its way into the Blog zone. That is what I am writing about today.


 


     We have a big cage currently housing a pair of beloved rabbits. It is nestled against the pasture fence by the blueberry bush. Yesterday, when I went to feed my horses and check our bunnies I was shocked at the sight awaiting me. The cage was ripped apart. The door was torn from the hinges and the wire mesh and sturdy supports were bent and broken. The heavy nesting box that our rabbits hide in was lifted up and turned on its side. Worst of all, there were clumps of white fur littering the ground underneath the cage, along with smears of red on the grass. One can conclude that our bunnies did not simply find a way out of confinement to hop merrily into the woods.


 


     I went to the worksite to describe my discovery to Mark. He turned to the workers and said, “What can do that? Coyotes?” Damn coyotes.


    The workers said, “No way. Coyotes and dogs are not aggressive like that. They wouldn’t destroy a cage.  Might be a  bear.”  Damn bear.


    I had this surge of anger, like Anthony Hopkins in The Edge when he said, “We have to kill the bear,” and he proceeded to whittle a spear to do the deed. I like bears and all, but not if they are going to prey on helpless, fuzzy bunnies and leave me with the task of breaking the news to my daughter. (I might mention here that not only does Neva love her pets, but this is going to be a horrible blow to her enterprise. She has been breeding her bunnies and selling the babies at the flea market all summer. She made a killing as a bunny entrepreneur. I am just thankful that we are on a break in the cycle, because at times, we have had up to eight bunnies in that cage; the mom and a bunch of adorable young rabbits -a perfect hor derve size for a hungry bear – like bunny mcNuggets)  


    The workers said, “Of course, it could be a fox. Them foxes is sneaky and can pull apart any kind of cage when they’s hungry.” Damn foxes.


 


     So, I don’t know what destroyed our cage and the inhabitants. But it makes me mad enough to spit. Now, not only do I feel I can’t have bunnies without irresponsibly putting them in danger, but what am I going to do with my Chickens? I planned to hire someone this week to build a chicken coop. Was thrilled at the idea of getting my poultry settled in our new home. But I can just see a bear tearing that cage apart to eat little Pot Pie and Drumstick. And what about my new Rooster (still squeaking in his little baby crow voice each morning when the sun rises). I can’t endanger my precious Joe Cocker!  But, I can’t keep these dirty birds in a cage on my porch either. Reality check.


Damn bear. Damn coyotes. Damn foxes. Damn wilderness.


 


     Mark says we can tie a dog up next to the chicken coup and that will help keep predators away. I looked at him as if he had grown horns. He’s going a little too “country” for me, with a comment like that. Like I’m going to keep a dog tied up all the time? Not to mention that I’d have nightmares of walking up to a leash that isn’t connected to a puppy anymore – like in the movie Jurassic Park when they tied up a goat and a moment later all they saw was a frayed rope and goat parts rained from the sky. Um . . . I wouldn’t expect even a tough ole country hound to tangle with a bear for the rights of a chicken.


 


This is getting complicated.


     Mark looks at me slyly and says, “I guess you can give up on the animal thing.”


     Not on your life, Bud. I’m having too much fun with my animal escapades to give up because of one obstacle.


I just need to outsmart the varmints. But how?


 


     I keep thinking about those cartoons I used to watch as a kid. The one with the innocent sheep, the sneaky wolf and the sheep dog that punch a time clock to begin work. They say good morning, the whistle blows to begin the workday, and the dog abruptly grabs the wolf and socks him in the jaw. I used to think those cartoons silly. Now I think they are closer to an educational documentary.


 


     We hope to build a barn this fall when the house is complete. I desperately want one now, before the rainy cold season begins, but it is hard enough getting the laborers to show up to finish the house, so pulling anyone off the job to build anything else isn’t an option, need based or not. And Mark’s workshop is first on the “After the house is done” list, so the barn is a long way off. I suppose, once I have a solid barn, I’ll be able to set up a bunny cage along that structure and it will be safer. And I can put my chicken coup nearby too. The activity near a barn, people coming and going (me), lights rigged to go off with a motion censor, and a donkey in residence, would make predators think twice.  No guarantees to stop an attack, but a speed bump to slow them down for sure.


 


    Can you believe this is my idea of trouble now? A year ago, trouble was defined as a costume shipment arriving late or a teacher getting the flu and my having to sub. Then, I was worried about bearish dance mothers.  Now it’s real bears. I guess all that FLEX aggravation was good practice for the real thing of outwitting determined wild creatures.


 


    Yesterday, while taking a walk around our mountain, I saw a wild pheasant. They are huge, cool looking birds! Looked like a peacock, only different. When I saw Mark that night, I exclaimed my delight and said, “I think I should raise wild pheasants and when they get big enough I’ll let them go on our land. I’ll populate our world with beautiful birds to see as we go about the day.”


He shook his head and said, “They won’t last. You will just be feeding the bears and the coyotes, and if anything, you’ll increase their population, which is not what you want to do. Give it up.”


 


    I most certainly won’t! For one thing, you can’t tell me that there aren’t areas where nature can balance itself – wild pheasants thrive in wooded areas, so why not mine? Then, there is the idea that if I populate the area with lots of wild birds, perhaps the predators won’t feel so inclined to go after my domestic animals. Insurance, so to speak. And maybe my wild pheasants will repopulate and multiply. They might create an ongoing supply of food for these hungry animals, enough of them so that a few (the smart ones that know to perch in trees) will thrive to awe me with their beauty.  


I’m gonna try it.


 


     Is it morally wrong to populate the land with wild animals if I know they might be eaten? I have to admit I am not emotionally scared when an animal meets his demise, at least not the way I was when I first moved here. It’s not like these are abused animals, uncared for or harmed by human hands – a different story completely. When an animal meets an untimely end because another animal has been hunting, well, it is all a part of nature and I don’t deny any animal it’s right to live true to nature.  I rather not see it happen to the animals I have named, petted, and cooed to, but I recognize that a part of living deep in the throws of nature is accepting the perils that come with a more natural existence. I think what’s important is that I give everything a fighting chance, supply any animals I mentor with the tools for living authentically.  For example, I won’t handle wild pheasants and make them comfortable with other creatures if they will be indeed wild. They need to be alert and skittish to remain unharmed. I won’t let my chickens be free range if I know my dog will use them as a chew toy. I will just strive to be as responsible as I can, do research so I don’t behave in stupid ways which the innocent animals pay for, then let nature balance itself out.  


 


   Man has battled nature for as long as time – there is something so base about experiencing this firsthand, not in theory. Makes me feel as if I’m rediscovering my own true nature as a two-legged creature. I feel like a Buddhist, at one with the earth, accepting of the cycle of life while trying to remain passive too. Of course, few Buddhist go around saying “Damn this, and damn that, ” but . . . well, I’m still me, I’m afraid. Wanting (but not getting) everything to go according to my personal agenda.  


 


    Anyway, yesterday I lost two bunnies but I gained some insight about what other creatures I’ll be living with soon when we move to our dream house .  And it has set my mind aflame with a new challenge. How will I outsmart the coyotebearfoxes? I’m hoping, if I watch more cartoons, I’ll stumble upon the answer. Acme predator spray or something.


 


    I feel like Rocky in a 50 acre ring, determined to win the fight with nature even though I have nothing but sheer determination as a coach in my corner. I need to have the heart to stay standing despite a few sore punches.

Wish me luck.


 

Is there always room for one more?

Today, after I worked with Kathy, I was asked to stop by the office. They had a question for me. Turns out, they are wondering if I would take on a new student.


 


The truth is, I’m too busy for the one I have – teaching someone to read is a big commitment while pursuing a masters and I’m barely able to keep on top of all my work as it is. I should say no. But this case is pretty hard to resist.


 


The man’s name is Hoyt and he is 63. Testing revealed he doesn’t even recognize the alphabet. Only his name. He went to school up until 2nd grade, but dropped out because all they had him do was chores. He was expected to lug in the water and carry firewood. Remember, he is 63. 55 years ago in a small town like this one, the schoolhouse was a rustic, one room shed with all ages in it together.  He was appointed the teacher’s lackey, so it turned out, school was too hard for him. (for all the wrong reasons).


 


Hoyt went on to become a wealthy landowner. In fact, he is a millionaire now with property all over Blue Ridge, in Colorado and in Russia. I guess he began making deals with a handshake. I can’t imagine how he was able to pull off honest business dealings as a totally illiterate adult in our changing world.


 


Hoyt is renowned for his weakness for beautiful woman. Was always dating a few drop dead gorgeous gals, so they say. Last year he married a beautiful Russian woman that they say looks like a Victoria Secret model. She is 20. She doesn’t speak any English and Hoyt doesn’t speak Russian. He met her while dealing with her family in a land purchase (perhaps the bride was the bonus?)


 


When the new misses was brought to America she began learning English so she could communicate with her country gent. Now she’s at the Appalachian College learning to read and write. She wants to go to a university here in America.


 


Recently, she discovered her wealthy husband couldn’t read. She was shocked. She began showing him her phonetics – which were not as hard as he expected, but he forgot them the next day. One thing lead to another and suddenly, she started demanding he learn to read.


 


Hoyt says he is hoping this beautiful young gal won’t up and run off on him, so he wants to please her. He’ll learn to read if it’s going to be such a big deal to her.


 


The directors of the program wanted me to know they couldn’t guarantee he would stick out a tutorial program , considering his motivation, but Hoyt did confess he would really love to learn to read the newspaper. That is something. But he believes he is too old to learn – since he hasn’t caught on for a lifetime, perhaps something is wrong with him.


Fascinating.


 


They believe I be the perfect teacher for him. For one thing, while I’m no 20 year old Victoria Secret carbon copy, I am no old Baptist school marm either, which tends to be the average volunteer in this program.  He might be receptive to me. And since Hoyt is a successful businessman, I can probably relate to him on that level too. He has said he doesn’t want anyone who will be condescending or make him feel stupid. Again, this makes me a good candidate for teaching him. If anything, I’m a person who believes that intelligence is not something measured by standardized tests.


 


I will meet him next week and decide if I want to take him on. I really don’t have the time, but he sounds so darn interesting I can’t resist considering it.


 


What is funny is that even though the women directing this literacy program don’t know me well, they have me pegged. They told me about Hoyt, then looked at me out of the sides of their eyes and said, “I imagine you would learn a lot from a guy like him.”


 


Ha. Every other volunteer is here to save souls. I’m here to explore them. The others want people to read the bible. I want them to read everything else. I guess my motivation is transparent.


 


So, next week I will meet Hoyt, and perhaps his beautiful young Russian wife. I don’t know what will come of it, but one thing is for sure. You can expect  a blogfest after that one!   

Cock-a-doodle-do

I have a rooster!!!!!


 


This morning I heard a strange sort of squawking, and since I am now always concerned that something is trying to get my chickens (one of our puppies killed two the day I returned home – not in a blood thirsty way, he just thinks they look a lot like one of his fuzzy dog toys. He knocked the cage over and let them escape, but when he saw them running around the porch, he wanted to play – damn dog.  I’ve since fixed that cage too. )  So, this morning when I heard a new sound, I went barreling up to the cage expecting foul play (or is that fowl play…. Ugh). However, the chickens were alone.


I heard it again.


IT WAS CROWING!


 


I was told that if I get a boy chick, he would start crowing while still small. It was a tiny crow, hardly enough to wake an ant. The sound came from the cage with my smallest chicks – four fuzzy little ones. I think it was from my little black bantam that we named Pot Pie. Maybe it was from the Silky called Drumstick. Couldn’t be sure.  I was so excited. I listened a while, watching the sun come up, marveling at how nature works.


 


I bought a book on small animal housing and I am hiring someone this week to build me a chicken cage/coup so I can move my chickens to the land. Mark could do this, but he is swamped with the house and my projects have to be put off until later. I worry that later will be too late, considering my other pets think I buy these chickens for afternoon snacks. I could probably build a pen myself, but I am so intimidated by tools. Denver could help me – she learned a great deal about tools in scenery workshops, but she is working all the time. I really should take a course on woodworking next time I go to the Campbell school to overcome my weakness. Then, I could make myself all kinds of fun stuff. I want to buy some peacocks, but I’m told the coyotes will get them and/or they need to be trained to stay on your land (they are rather willful birds), so until I can figure out how to build a pen, I must remain peacock-less. Ah, the sacrifices I make because I am not tool-savvy.


 


I also want shelter for the llama because winter is coming and the rainy fall. They are simple structures, but I will need to hire someone for that too, because it is larger and will take some muscle. All these animal habitat things are outlined with plans and suggestions in this book I bought, but it is about equal to my reading instructions in Arabic. (And I don’t speak Arabic). Perhaps my desires for Animal housing will be just the ticket I need to make me plunge into the unknown and develop a new skill. I think I might look sexy wielding a hammer and saw.


 


I am on my way to teach Kathy (just had a few minutes to kill so I decided to check my E-mail. No one wrote, so I thought I’d do a mini blog). So that is all I have to say. I have a rooster. Yippee!

Kathy shows up again

I forgot to mention that Kathy Smith called the day before I went to Boston. She said she had been waiting to hear from me. I pointed out that I was at the college on Monday, July 3rd for our lesson, and when she didn’t show up, I tried calling, but her phone was disconnected. She insisted we agreed I’d call when I was home from my residency and has been anxiously awaiting word from me – that the disconnected phone was a temporary thing.  I told her not to worry, I planned to hunt her down as soon as school began, so it was not I would have let things go much longer. I am not the sort of girl that fades away . . . Once involved, I’m forever present, even when it seems as if I’m absent. My heart commitments don’t have a statue of limitations and no matter how demanding life gets, I find a way back to what is important. 

What counted was that we connected and made plans to continue tackling her illiteracy. I’m so glad, because I truly like her, and I like ME when I’m working with her. I respond well to the slap-in-the-face reminder that I am a fortunate individual. Sometimes I believe I am at my best when helping others help themselves. Anyway, I’m thrilled that my project of teaching Kathy to read is hanging in there – a bumpy road, for sure, but all the best destinations are at the end of bumpy roads. Fewer people are willing to endure all that jostled about when traveling roads with ruts and bumps. Makes arriving at those remote places so much sweeter than cruising the well-tred paved paths with crowds to places that aren’t so hard to reach. 

Tonight I will be collecting my materials, brushing up, and writing something for Kathy to read. I am developing our materials as we go. Funny, my best friends are never the people one would pair up with me for reasons of similar life-styles. The friends I appreciate most are people I admire, for uniqueness, ability to overcome adversity, attitude and heart.   

Anyway, tomorrow I will resumes my adventures with Kathy. Makes me smile. We can all use an extra smile a day. Maybe, I’ll take a picture of us together tomorrow so you can see her. A picture says so much about how our state. That said . . . this is me today. Grinning for private reasons.