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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Crisis Management (Or) 40 Days Of Thanksgiving: Day 15

The time between the call to 911 and the arrival of official help seems to stretch into eternity. Every second drags with wait, and bystanders are left anxiously shifting from foot to foot and wringing their hands, straining to hear approaching sirens. Our choir sang in morning church and I left after the offertory in the second service to drive home through the rain to lunch and a much-anticipated semi-sacrosanct Sunday afternoon nap. On the parkway, two stopped vehicles on the shoulder drew my attention to another, further up the wet embankment that was steaming. A small tree was wrapped over it. I pulled off and asked if anyone had called emergency services and if anyone was hurt.  The call had been made, and the involved driver was dizzy but ambulatory. I left when the fire trucks hove in view what seemed like ages--but was actually only a few minutes--later.  I am very grateful that we have a functional 911 system. I also realized that I need to get EMS training. I would like to be useful should I encounter situations like this.

Tonight June and I made it to the first half of the Thanksgiving service (it was in reverse order from normal, so we got to hear the homily) and then came back to my house so she could use my computer and Internet connection for an interview with an overseas organization hiring English teachers.  To my irritation, and her sorrow, the interview basically tanked when the guy asked her what the other half of her double major was in college (one was International Studies), and she told him "Bible" (she went to a Christian university).  You'd have thought she'd said, "The dissemination of bubonic plague."  He didn't even ask her any further technical questions, just ended the interview at  that point.  She was pretty upset, so I suggested watching a movie--the Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

Suzanne Collins and the team of actors and technicians that made that movie got so many things right. I love the multiple historical allusions to various coercive imperial systems, from the Romans to the National Socialists to other more recent totalitarian examples. That the designers were wise enough to incorporate Napoleonic and Federal-style furniture (festooned with martial motifs) into the domestic sets was a perfect touch.  And Collins' characters do not emerge from their ordeals psychologically unscathed, but struggle with the emotional aftereffects of their forced violent behavior.  I think it was a good distraction for June, though I'm not sure how much my contextual commentary benefited her--sometimes I feel compelled to lecture, whether my would be audience is interested or not...

Saturday, November 22, 2014

40 Days Of Thanksgiving: Day 14

My Frankenstein's monster of a rug pad is finally sewn together (of scraps cut from the edges of the pad in my bedroom) and in use upstairs. I've cleaned up numerous piles that have been cluttering my house since the day I moved in. I am so grateful to have been unprecedentedly diligent today, and gotten several important items off my "to do" list.

I wrote three more literary agents about Ira's and my book (have yet to hear from any of the previous ten) today and noted with some distress that not only had my annual health insurance payment (more than $3800--it doubled under ObamaCare) posted, so had that for my car insurance (a little less than $400), leaving me, in one costly weekend, $4200 poorer--more than I've earned this year, as a matter of fact.  And, today I got a bill for an X-ray from a doctor's visit in the summer (almost $300).  And I don't qualify for unemployment benefits because I worked in one state while living in a second and have since moved to a third, which requires at least two years' residency of recipients.  Sometimes I think our government is determined to have me end up on the street.  At any rate, I hope that Anita's and my DC area jewelry shows are madly lucrative, or there'll be no way for me to pay my bills next month!

Friday, November 21, 2014

40 Days Of Thanksgiving: Day 13

How grateful to God I am for good health! I've been mostly headache-free since I moved back south, my fingers are all working, I'm in better physical shape than I was (not that it shows externally--my stamina has improved, and I can get through my weekly Refit class without gasping like a landed fish).  Even the cough which had been nagging at me for weeks has subsided.  Physically, I feel positively bouncy!  I know that, willy-nilly, my emotional health would be in a much more fragile state now than it is were I not in such good corporeal trim, and  this makes me even more grateful to the Almighty for this general condition of well-being!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Misery Loves Company; 40 Days Of Thanksgiving: Day 12

It's not that people who are miserable always want other people to be miserable too--the company that the sad crave is often just simple companionship.  I admit to being bummed today--everyone else seems to have a decently-paying, if not indecently-paying job, and I have no idea where to apply next, and Irina's book translation still sits in manuscript form in my Documents folder.  Thanks to the friend who gave me a hug after choir practice this evening.  For a moment, I was less lonely and isolated.

Mums and John are enjoying warm weather and sunshine in San Diego this week (he has a medical meeting).  I am grateful that despite my deplorable employment situation, I need not fear being homeless nor hungry.  And my car, bless its little Honda 6-cylinder engine, is still running like a top. And I've actually finished the pile of paper Christmas ornaments I'd been working on for months:


Decorating the satin-covered balls with ribbon, crystals and sequins are another ornament project, still ongoing...

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

40 Days Of Thanksgiving: Day 11

Today, I am grateful my pointer fingertips are sore, not from some sort of schadenfreude but because it means that I am almost done with the pile of paper Christmas ornaments that have been scattered around my house in various stages of completion since early summer!  Bending pins to make hanging loops is not easy on the hands, and snipping them with wire cutters has shot sharp steel bits all over my dining room area (an additional thanksgiving is that I've not stepped, sat or knelt on any this far!).   I look forward to vacuuming up the metal debris and a portion of the gold and silver glitter that has made many horizontal surfaces in my house twinkle madly.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

40 Days Of Thanksgiving: Day 10

Winter has arrived in Augusta, GA. Looking out the windows today, the weather was beautiful--clear blue, sunny skies--but setting foot out of doors was a severe shock--hats and gloves mandatory.  The chill kind of took the breath away (I have completely reacclimatized to the warm South, and this blast from the frozen North is a rude reminder of what I must endure in two weeks' time).

My thanksgiving today is for good insulation and central heating. When I was young, I would often fall asleep at night imagining Laura Ingalls Wilder's experiences in The Long Winter, when she and her sisters would shiver their way to bed in rooms where the exposed roof-shingle nails were covered with frost. On my first trip to Russia almost 20 years ago, we were told that the students at the university where we studied left their coats and gloves on indoors during the colder months.  And in the Korean War of 1950-1953, some wounded survived terrible injuries because their blood froze on exposure to the frigid air.  I am glad to be able to sleep where it's cool but not frosty, to not have to wear my coat indoors from November-April, and to not fear exsanguination whatever the weather (well, I hope to see Rachel and the NPV in DC, so I shouldn't celebrate that last just yet!).

Monday, November 17, 2014

40 Days Of Thanksgiving: Day 9

My stepdad loves gardening. He even carefully sprouts and plants avocado pits, though they'll never yield avocados and resemble large plain potted weeds. His backyard is a jungle of camellias, roses, a banana tree (with larval green bananas which never grow more than two inches long), and dozens of other bushes and trees, including a high (approx. 14') leafy hedge around the perimeter.  As a general rule, he resists evening mild pruning, but the other day, he decided that the hedge needed serious trimming (the hope is that it will thicken if trimmed--at thrice the height of the average person, it's become "leggy"). Not a small task, and one one person could only carry out on a limited basis. After lofting an extension pole-clipper ten feet and sawing at the hedgetops for hours, he ran out of energy, and his neck was stiff. This morning, we found out that (unbeknownst to him) several branches had fallen onto the neighbor's pool cabana, which didn't thrill her, so while John was at work, Mums and I went into the thicket to start clearing out the debris (and get that which we could out of the neighbor's way).

The neighbor recently had a new 5' wood privacy fence constructed along her property line, paralleling John's 3.5' chain link fence, which sits eight inches inside. Since the bushes were so thick, there was no way to get a ladder among them, and so I climbed up and stood balanced on the top of John's fence, resting my bum against the wood beyond it and staying remarkably stable for all the yanking of vines and untangling of detached branches I was doing.  I got the greenery down from the heights and Mums hauled it out into piles in the yard. We worked fast for three hours without pausing, and there was only one mishap, when my foot slipped on the wet metal and I landed hard astride the bar above the chainlink. All I could think when I found myself sitting after the fall was, "Well, thank God, I'm not a guy." If I had been, I'd have been in agony for hours--if not days--from the impact.  As it was, I laughed, swung back up on the bar and started yanking down overgrown wisteria again.

Since it would probably be a bit tacky to list "lack of testicles" as my thanksgiving today, I'll go with blessings on the inventors of cut-resistant gloves and safety goggles.  Other than a few scratches around my wrists and a scattering of tiny bruises over my arms, I'm unscathed. I probably will find leaf and twig bits in my hair when I take my shower tonight, however.