Friday, July 31, 2009

RAIN, Tornados--the works

TGIF, as they say. This week is one that is better left behind. From the beginning until varied can one week be?

The ultimate Experience (note the capital E) came yesterday with myriad warnings from all the TV stations: severe thunderstorms, tornado watches, warnings, and then the local sirens and the town's Emergency Warning announcements on TV... whoa, Enough already.

They counted three tornados touching down in various parts of the county and the adjoining town of Olive Branch. The dire warnings were right on target, with frog-strangling downpours of rain, with water collecting on low-lying streets and yards, bridges and creeks. OUR gauge in the back yard measured almost FIVE inches of rain in about 2 1/2 hours of the Storms. No wind to speak of, thank goodness, in our neighborhood, and the electric power managed to stay on in spite of one hiccup (which was reflected in our having to reset all the electronic gadgets). Cable was out for a couple of hours, but the computers finally came back on, much to our relief.

Pictures in the newspapers and on TV today showed so many houses ripped apart, businesses that lost roofs and facades, cars and 18-wheelers turned over or smashed into each other, trees downed, roads was a Mighty Storm that went through the area.

The occasional clouds this morning soon gave way to brilliant sunshine, which was a more than welcome sight. The temperatures this morning were nice and cool while the humidity is amazingly low, considering all the moisture still lingering in puddles and ditches.

Our Maryland family arrives tomorrow midnight, by plane this time, and thus will begin a week of festivities connected to The Wedding - one week from tomorrow! We'll start with celebrating all our family's August birthdays: Charlotte, Michael, Susan, Scott, John, and Emily (tho hers is really in early September) - which added together total about 236 years... obviously we will not attempt to put that many candles on the cake! And we'll wish Paul and Pam a happy 27th wedding anniversary while we're singing!

Thursday's Book Store volunteer time was busy and productive, and fun - as alwsys. We were able to make our weekly forage to the Farmers Market, too, before they had to close down due to the storm. The frig is full of good things like corn on the cob, peaches, tomatoes, and new potatoes - which will be enjoyed by all! I forgot a couple of items on Wednesday, when I did my long list at the grocery store, so a quick trip in today will solve that problem, I hope !

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Rainy Sunday and Dames of Magna Charta

Loud thunder woke me too early this morning, when I should have slept until noon, at least - based on how tired I was from yesterday's activities. But knowing that the electric power was likely to go off with the storm, I got up to get that first cup of coffee while I still could.

Yesterday was a delightful day, all told. I drove, taking my sister, daughter and granddaughter with me, to the country club in Memphis where the West Tennessee Chapter Dames of the Magna Charta and Somerset Barons were meeting for business, program and lunch. This is my second time to serve a 2-year term as Regent of the organization. After letting my passengers out at the door, I went on around to the handicap parking, and bless Katy, found a space!

Membership in this hereditary organization is based on lineal descent of the applicant to one or more of the Barons who, at Runnymede in 1215, forced King John of England to sign that magnificent document, the Magna Charta, upon which our constitutional government is based. Membership is by invitation, and submission of his/her forms showing their descent. Upon approval by the national board, the member is then welcomed to the Society.

We had a large number of members and guests in attendance for the event yesterday, and it appeared that everyone enjoyed the meeting -- with an 8-year-old pianist performing for us, a delicious meal, and a speaker who spoke on "Magna Charta Libertatum". His talk was well-received, timely and informative. Lorelei, the pianist, is the daughter and granddaughter of Chapter members, and has attended meetings with her family for many years. She exhibited great poise and budding ability at the piano. She studies with a teacher at Vanderbilt in Nashville.

The speaker is active in the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR), and is a state officer/advisor for the Children of the American Revolution (CAR), in addition to teaching architecture (his field) at college level.

I was tired when we retraced our steps to arrive back home mid-afternoon.

Unfortunately, this meeting prevented me and my sister from attending the funeral services for our friend, Clyde Dixon. It's not possible to be in two places at the same time, and the meeting had been on the calendar for several months. As presiding officer, my choice was limited. Clyde's death was sudden and totally unforeseen. He was a vibrant member of our Sunday school class, church and the community and will be greatly missed by everyone who knew him or knew of him.

The loud and active thunderstorm has moved out of our area now, and the power did NOT go off, for a change!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Frustrations deluxe

Today's grey cloudy day has been one of frustrations... minor, to be sure, but still....
I can't see my 'followers' on my blog list. No icons appear. Everything I tried so far to reinstate the icons has failed. That's 'frustration' number one right now. I don't know why the icons have disappeared, or why the 'help' section doesn't address MY question.

Number two just came by email from the website of the store that my sister and I searched for in vain on Monday.

The company correspondent says she understands my frustration in locating a store...and offers the address of the one we tried to find first. MY fault for not noting the ADDRESS before we started out driving that day.. for the one listed in a specific shopping center in the neighboring town is not - to my way of thinking - IN that shopping center. Nope, it's on a street that vaguely borders the shopping center...about two blocks away.

As stated, the unsuccessful search for that particular store was my fault, but also for the store's website for labeling that store by the name that is actually NOT on the street shown as their physical address. I still maintain that the website is misleading...and told that company so when I used their 'contact us' feature.

Frustration #3: One of the riding mower tires that #1 son worked so hard to replace a few weeks ago so the mower would work, had lost air again when we went out to do the mowing last week. (Expletive removed) #1 son has since had Carpal Tunnel surgery and is not able yet to come back and try again. SO we're going to bite the bullet and call a lawn mower repair service - tomorrow.

In the meantime, guess what the almost-3 inches of rain has done to the front yard? Uh huh... the front part looks just as scraggly as it did before we mowed last week! I have to be thankful that we do have a nice Green lawn this summer - as opposed to last year's struggling-to-survive grass everywhere around. The drought last year was not pleasant at all.

I won't even mention that the novel I'm reading has not yet grabbed my whole attention. Usually that author writes one that I simply can't put down. Not this time... I can't really get into it - but I will finish reading just to see how the author uncomplicates the plots and subplots before the last page.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sunday trivia and other inconsequential stuff

Before I begin my rant today, I hope you will check out Larry's blogspot. He's a new 'follower' on my blogspot, so I clicked on his picture and found his pictures of Collierville. A totally delightful collection of enchanting photographs - scenes in and around our beautiful used-to-be-Small Town. I think you'll enjoy browsing as much as I have. Just be sure to allow enough time to keep scrolling. This Larry has a lot to offer, and I'm glad he signed on as a follower.

Shift gears: How long does it take an ingrained habit to be forcefully re-thought and re-tooled, as it were?? After turning on the kitchen hot and cold faucets a certain way for a little over 40 years, one beneficial visit from a friendly plumber changed my habits completely - upside down, if you will.

The hot water is the same as always, turning on by turning the knob counter-clockwise. BUT the cold water faucet is now opposite to what it was. I think it turns on clockwise, but I have to try it with each cold water need. Ah.. water...I must have turned the knob the new right way. Now to remember to reverse that direction when I want to shut the cold water valve. OOPS... got another gusher. Must have turned it in the old style. Try again. NOW it's off. Whew....
This has been going on for a week already. You'd think I could have learned the difference by now - right? Nope.

In the bathroom that I call 'mine', the faucet handles are unchanged. But now I'm noticing which way is 'on' and how to get them turned 'off' again. Strange.. it was always automatic before. Now I think about it. What a waste of brainpower, when I could be solving the problems of the universe in the same length of time that I spend thinking about turning water on and off again.

Speaking of the bathroom that's designated 'mine'. As old-age creeps in on little cat feet (like that fog of poetry fame), rising from a sitting position is becoming increasingly difficult. No, I don't have a single twinge of hip or knee pain.. it's just harder to get up. So, I browsed the web, and found A solution. Now I have guard- or guide-rails of tubular metal (aluminum or steel? I don't know) installed on the commode in 'my' bathroom. I neglected to write down the name of this contraption when I found it online, and the order-tracking page does not give it a name, either, so I just call it an 'armchair'-like rail. Go figure.

I am so glad that Canada shared some Cold Air with our geographical area just at the right time to create a perfect weekend hereabouts. Thanks to you - Jet Stream, prevailing winds, or whatever - we are basking in the delightful cool and sunny weekend. Pessimistic TV forecasters warn that this won't last - but maybe they're wrong. Sometimes they have been known to err, you know ! But for our granddaughter's return from her year-long stay in France, I was glad that she didn't have to deplane in a typical July Memphis sauna. Give her enough time to get used to the culture shock before hitting her with humidity too ! Welcome home, Dear granddaughter. We loved your Blogs and pictures of your adventures in France, but we are all exceedingly glad that you're back on this side of The Pond.

Now to return to your regular sponsor.. uh, I mean, return to my recliner and my latest Book Store acqusition - another Evanovich paperback - to read and enjoy while elevating my swollen ankles...just another of those 'old age' goodies that - if you're lucky - you'll hang on long enough to enjoy with me.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Rainy Thursday

What is it with Thursday that rain comes so frequently on that part of the week? An early storm shook the very rafters with thunder, lightning and a downpour that raised the level in our rain gauge. I think the clouds are moving out now; at least I hope so. I hate to do my volunteer shift at the Book Store with wet shoes. Umbrellas just don't quite cover everything in a downpour.

An interesting public meeting at Town Hall on Tuesday night held our attention for the full hour. Officials with the Metro Planning group showed maps of the Norfolk-Southern railroad 'Poplar Corridor' from East Memphis to Rossville. Discussed were the crossings with the most traffic and therefore the most congestion and accidents.
We were a little disappointed that no real solution or conclusion was offered --in our opinion-- because the bottom line lies with the Railroad, always and forever. What 'they' are willing to do, or not do, seems to depend on the cost to them. This is not 'new' news. The railroads have always been 'in charge' of their lines and the rights-of-way on both sides of the rails. I think hubby and I read into the press releases topics that were not actually there. But at least we were able to express opinions about certain crossings and the problems with one in particular.

Good news came in this morning from the new Farmers Market blogspot. Extended hours will be a boon to shoppers, as well as additional vendors. More fresh veggies are coming in daily - and I'm looking forward to another visit after my volunteer shift, to check out the fresh butterbeans!

Monday, July 13, 2009

BOOKS and more books

Thunder and rain this morning provided a perfect excuse for me to relax and pick up another one of my tall stack of books-to-read.

I had finally finished wading through "A Lie for a Lie" by Emilie Richards. Somehow this one, however clever and entertaining it might be, never quite grabbed my attention like some other authors do. I found myself dozing frequently during the preacher's wife's attempts to prove the innocence of her new 'friend'. Just couldn't maintain interest, or something. Not many stories put me to sleep so regularly ...but maybe I was just tired to begin with.

But on the other end of the attention-grabber list, "Thanksgiving" by Janet Evanovich kept me glued and laughing til tears obstructed my view of the pages. This 1988 pre-Stephanie Plum romance reprint is definitely one to enjoy when you want a fast and hilarious read. Evanovich writes a clever story that's fun to read.

Hubby complained that my laughter was disturbing his own reading, even though the jackhammer work next door didn't seem to bother either of us! Breaking up a concrete slab - which had been the floor of a shed-carport combination - was loud enough to get attention from the whole neighborhood! The men worked on even after the rain started !

Now the rain has ceased, the jackhammer crew did not return after lunch break, and all is too quiet. I 'need' to make a grocery run, but keep putting it off and off...until soon we'll be looking at Old Mother Hubbard's cupboards, for sure !
Somehow grocery shopping and meal planning just doesn't excite me very much, after a lifetime of doing. Outside of 'eating out' all the time, I don't know any way to avoid it, though.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Exciting times

How exciting to read the Collierville Herald online early this morning, and find the engagement announcement for granddaughter Emily and fiance Scott! When the print copy comes later on today, the excitement will escalate, I'm sure.

This momentous occasion will be celebrated with the ceremony in our 109-year-old Methodist Church 'on the Square', where hubby and I exchanged our own vows 58.5 years ago. This is the site, too, of four of our five children's weddings. I keep thinking of one of my favorite tune from "Fiddler on the Roof"... "TRADITION". Another favorite is the poignant "Sunrise, Sunset"...'is this the little girl I carried; is this the little boy at play? I don't remember growing older -- when did they?' This one brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it.

Both of the couple's families attend much larger churches in the metropolitan area, so I was even more pleased and excited when Emily and Scott chose the 'old home church' for their nuptials.

This past week has been full and busy - so what else is new, huh? Finalizing the work on the yearbook for one of the hereditary organizations I belong to, and still working on the quarterly newsletter for the genealogical society of the neighboring county has consumed much of my 'free' time. I managed to read four books, though, in spite of other committments. (Talk about multi-tasking!)

I enjoyed every page of "Return to Sullivan's Island" and will be re-reading "Sullivan's Island" when I find it at the Book Store. Everything Dorothea Benton Frank writes about the low country of South Carolina is a good read, and something I enjoy.

A successful shopping trip with my sister was the icing on the cake the other day. Finding just the right outfit for an upcoming occasion was a feather in both our caps! Fashions these days are not exactly geared to the older women, and if one is not 20-something and pencil slim, the pickin's are usually limited. We ventured in to a 'new-to-us' dress store, and found the styles, ambience and the attractive young clerk all very pleasant.

An interview yesterday with the Town History project coordinator was FUN. My long-time friend and I, who grew up across the street from each other, met with the coordinator, the director who asked the leading questions and the young man from the high school who manned the camera. We are so glad that this project is underway, and that we were included in the list of interviewees chosen to share stories of 'Old Collierville'. The hour went entirely too fast. My friend and I fed off each other as we related stories from our childhood and teen years in the really small town this once was. She would tell about an event which reminded me of another related one of my own. I commented after the interview concluded, that 'we could have talked all day'.

Today will be another fun one, voluntering at the Book Store and then visiting the Farmers Market again for more mouth-watering fresh veggies. I'm looking forward to more of those lucious home-grown tomatoes and sweet corn and whatever else is available.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Books and Veggies

Thursday this week was a busy and productive day all day long ! Lots of interesting visitors to the Book Store and many sales made my 'quota' for the early shift an easy reality. We don't actually have a set quota to accomplish, but it's always rewarding when a large number of sales produce a check-out total that's 'comfortable'.

Donations for the Library and the Book Store continue to come in, and for this we are grateful. Our neighbors and friends bring in books, magazines, tapes and CDs that are no longer wanted, and as is said, 'one man's trash is another man's treasure'. It's always fun to see a patron find a longed-for book on the Book Store shelf.

The youngest patrons who come in after their visit to the programs in the Library are the most fun to watch. They are very serious in choosing their selections of the day, and with parental guidance, usually end up with a hardback or paperback that's just right for them.

The Summer Reading program is an active one, especially for the YA group. When a 'young adult' completes the requirements, they receive a coupon for a Free YA book from the Book Store. Those selections sometimes take a long time...but the smiles on their faces, when they complete the mission, are worth the wait.

When I finished my shift, hubby and I visited the brand-new "Farmers Market" off the Square. Many tables of fresh home-grown vegetables and fruits to choose from made the heat more tolerable. We came home with bags full of sweet corn, tomatoes, new potatoes and yellow squash. We chatted a while with the dedicated gardener who initiated, persevered and succeeded in establishing this new 'Farmers Market'.

The Market will return every Thursday from noon til 6 - or until a vendor sells out and departs. One vendor had already done that by the time we got there mid-afternoon.

Supper last night took some prep effort, but was Oh so Worth the trouble! Those fresh home-grown tomatoes tasted like Real tomatoes, and the sweet corn on the cob was indescribably delicious.