Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Farewell Boneyfiddle

Friday, October 15th, 2010
Boneyfiddle Garden Shop

Boneyfiddle Garden Shop

Sometimes I really wish I was rich.  I know, everyone wishes that, but today I have an actual good reason for wishing it.  One of my favorite stores is closing

The town I live in has dried up and almost ceased to exist over the last 30 years or so. When I was a child, the downtown area had several major department stores, several shoe stores, men’s and women’s specialty stores, banks, diners, jewelry stores…it was a vibrant area with plenty to do. During that time, the town’s original business district had given way to bars, junk shops and warehouse space. Few downtown shoppers found their way to that part of town. But as industry moved overseas and jobs were lost, the department stores closed one by one, and all of the other businesses followed along. Despite efforts to revive it, our downtown is on life support and is barely clinging to a few restaurants and some shops that come and go.

Surprisingly, in the old business district, located along the river just inside the floodwall, townspeople came together and began to shine up the historic buildings, opening cute little touristy shops and restaurants. Antiques became a focus, and other unique stores filled in around them. Murals were painted on the floodwall depicting the town’s history. Flowers and trees and benches made walking the area inviting. When I friend opened a sandwich shop, I ventured down there to look around. What I found was a thriving small business community, full of unique gifts and hidden gardens, wonderful food and interesting folks.

Much as I have enjoyed the area, I guess I haven’t spent enough time and money there to help those interesting folks. I did share what I’d found with others, taking friends there for dinner or to visit the little stores occasionally. But if you added up all the money I’ve spent there in the past, it might not seem that I liked it that well, as it’s probably not more than a few hundred dollars. Not enough, on my own or with the friends I brought, to keep my favorite shop open.

So the Boneyfiddle Garden Shop will close on Friday. No more unique flower baskets. No more locally crafted pottery. No more garden rugs, birdhouses, local paintings. No more flowers on a whim. No more hidden garden! There will be a hole in the row of shops where no flowers will burst out the door, no birdcage will grace a window, no life will overflow. I won’t know where to find a quick gift. I won’t know where to take an out of town guest to show off our town.

In just a few minutes, I’ll be on my way there to sift through the last of the stock and spend a few dollars. If I were rich, maybe I’d have spent more all along. And then maybe they’d still be open.

The Pig Flu

Monday, October 26th, 2009

This flu shot thing has me in a quandary. My philosophy is that the farther you stay from doctors and hospitals, the less likely you are to get sick. We are generally a pretty healthy family.

When my children were small, I did take them for the mandatory vaccines, but while the oldest saw the pediatrician on a fairly regular schedule (he was the first child and weighed only four pounds when he was born,) the youngest got her shots from the health department (where they were free,) and didn’t see the doctor until she went for her school-ordered Kindergarten checkup. (Please don’t call Childrens’ Services. She’s 16 now, and she’s fine.)

I personally have not had a shot of any kind since I was 12. I’m…..older than that now, and it doesn’t seem to have hurt me. I get the occasional cold and I probably had the flu about five years ago, but that’s life. I’m way more afraid of getting Guillian-Barre Syndrome that of getting any kind of flu. I logically believe that it is very unlikely that any of us would have complications that would result in hospitalization, much less death.

But a friend of mine died. Not just someone far away on the news, an actual person who had been as healthy as the average middle-aged adult and thought he was going to stay home from work and play around on Facebook for a few days. I thought hard about that. My son called from college to say he had a fever and flu symptoms. He knew people who had H1N1. I tried not to worry about it, knowing that he would almost surely be fine even if he had it, but he is in Boston and I am in Ohio. What if he got really sick?

I finally decided that I won’t get a flu shot. There is a shortage, and there are people who will be seriously worried if they are denied a flu shot. I’m okay with taking my chances.

Walmart People

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

How many of you have seen the peopleofwalmart.com website? Come on, admit it. You looked at fifteen pages before you could quit. It’s amazingly funny and shocking and campy. I immediately thought of the Walmart Bingo game my kids sometimes play on boring summer evenings (there’s a Christmas version for boring winter vacation time!)

This stuff is funny because these people seem so clueless as to why other people are staring. They don’t seem to realize that their car modifications are not cool. That their fishnet stockings don’t quite blend with the zebra striped top that isn’t long enough to cover the beer belly. They don’t get that they really don’t look much like Elvis, and that if Elvis were still with us, he wouldn’t look like that anymore either. Where do people like that come from? Why are they running around loose? Why don’t they know how funny they look?

We can laugh at them because we know that we are ever so much more sophisticated and fashionable. Never would we appear in public that way! Not for any reason! Well, except for the other day when I stayed home from work sick and my daughter needed me to bring her geometry book to school. I tried to get her to come and meet me at the car, but she couldn’t. I had on warmup pants. That wasn’t too bad. I combed my hair. It was flat and flyaway, but it seemed passable. The tshirt was snug and I wasn’t wearing a bra, and putting one on seemed way too much trouble, so I put on the other daughter’s pullover jacket (even though it was 80 degrees.) Then I put on my flipflops and took the book to school. Fortunately, only the principal saw me. The look on her face was priceless. If she’d had a camera, I might even now be gracing a web page with a funny caption so that other people could point and laugh.

Busy, Busy!

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

Time flies when you’re being a mom. The kids are back to school, I’m back to work, I’m starting on a new career and trying to maintain my house. When I saw how long it had been since I last wrote for my blog, I was amazed. Seems like I just posted last week!

But time has gotten away with me and I haven’t had time to think of a single profound thing to say. Except that Labor Day is gone, Volleyball season is just about over, and it will be Thanksgiving before you know it. Time is rushing by. So pay attention! You might miss the whole thing!

Next week, I’ll say something profound or funny. Maybe.

Reflections On Being a Good Mother

Sunday, May 10th, 2009

What does it take to be a good mom? I think my mom’s the best in the world, but I’m constantly reminding her of how her decisions and actions messed up my life. I can also see how my grandmother messed up my mother’s life, and how my great-grandmother messed up my grandmother. Now my older daughter tells me that she’s amazingly well adjusted in spite of me. Yes, I’m also messing up my daughter’s life.

It’s true, you know. I took a Facebook quiz yesterday-What Jazz Musician Are You- and found out that I’m Louis Armstrong. Well, I LOVE the trumpet! And as I pointed out to my mother, I could have learned to play the trumpet in junior high band, but she wouldn’t let me, because it would make my lips big. Women pay BIG MONEY now to make their lips big, and I could have had big lips and played the trumpet both, but my mother thought I should play the flute or the clarinet. Do you see why I’m messed up, folks?

My mother is an amazing woman. She is beautiful, intelligent and faithful. She did all the great mom things-read to us, said prayers and sang lullabies, baked cookies and attended concerts. When she divorced at 27, she couldn’t drive and had never held a job. She had four kids and only a high school education. She made the hard choice not to raise us on welfare, but to move in with her parents and let her mother take over mothering us while she learned to drive (badly) and got a job to support us.

She apologizes sometimes for having been a bad mother. I have to remind her that while she did mess up my life, she managed to raise four children and help raise three step-children who all turned out okay. Yes, we’re messed up. Everybody is. None of us, however, are living with her. None of us are on welfare, most of us are college graduates, and we’ve never called her to bail us out of jail. We all attend church regularly and are raising our children to be active members. We visit her often. Most of all, we love each other.

I often think I haven’t been a very good mom. I look back and see how I could have paid more attention, cooked more dinners, read more books, spoken more gently, spent more time. I envy other moms who seem to have everything together and who give their children so much more energy than I had for mine. I wish I’d done things differently. I wish I’d been kinder and wiser. And now I know that this is how my mom feels when she apologizes for being a bad mother. I can only hope that, when my daughters are mothers, it’ll turn out that I wasn’t so bad at all.

Life Is Short

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

Life is short. It doesn’t seem that way when you’re a little kid. It seems like every day goes on forever and summer is a futile dream. When you’re a teenager, the days are crowded and sometimes fly by, but the wait for a driver’s license, a high school diploma, or an 18th birthday stretches endlessly. Then there’s college, where you notice suddenly how short summer is.

Life speeds up when children are born. An evening with a colicky baby may drag on, but in just a little while the baby is walking, and in the blink of an eye he’s walking out the door. By the time we figure out that we need to slow down and savor the moments, the years are gone.

I’m not fifty yet, but this week, two friends of mine are facing an end to lives that went by too fast. They aren’t finished yet with raising children, sharing retirement with their spouses, and fading into golden years. Just as they had begun to realize that time moves fast, it moved past them and in a flash they can see the finish.

I have new hopes and plans and dreams for the next thirty years of my life. I dread the thought of how fast it will go, knowing all that I want to pack in to it. I know I should slow down and savor every minute of it, because too soon it will be gone. My friends had plans for a future that they won’t live to see. There is no guarantee I’ll see mine either.

God said “I know the plans I have for you.” We make plans as if our time is guaranteed, as if each of us gets 70 years or more in which to live out our time. But God’s plans are not our plans. We get angry with Him when he cuts “our time” short. But we aren’t promised any number of years in this life. Our plans must be tentative and changeable, because they are part of a bigger plan.

I mourn with my friends that their plans will not be fulfilled. I look at my own plans and tremble at the thought of not seeing them through. But my plans are not His plans, and His ways are not my ways. So I will try to slow down and savor the time I’m given. And I will try to let God do the planning.

Blogging for World Hunger

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

Today is an unusual day in the blogosphere. Bloggers all over the world are uniting to bring attention to world hunger and to ask readers to help. I write this blog mostly for my own entertainment, and hopefully if you read it, it entertains you, too. But I’m thrilled to have a chance to use what I write to help others.

Like most people, I worry about hunger in the world. I wish I could do something to change it. And I feel helpless. The problem is so large, and I do well to feed my family. What can I do about it? Money sent to organizations mostly gets used for their overhead expenses. When food aid actually does reach some countries, it gets confiscated for their armies. How can you know that help is getting to those who need it so desperately?

Still, I feel that I have to do something. Once, when my daughter was an infant, I had tried to feed her before leaving my mom’s house to drive home, a trip of about twenty minutes. She was fussy and wouldn’t eat. Five minutes after we left, she began to cry and suck on her fists, demanding her dinner. The pacifier didn’t help. Talking didn’t distract her. Her brother patted her head but she yelled louder. I knew I’d be home soon if she could just wait, but her wails began to sound pitiful and desperate, and my heart was breaking. Finally I could stand it no longer and I pulled the car into a parking lot, took her from her seat and nursed her until she was happy enough to finish the drive home. I cried the entire time, because she had sounded so needy, and suddenly I was overwhelmed with knowledge of how a third world mother feels when her baby cries and she has nothing to feed it. When she’s gone so long without food herself that her body no longer provides even a little milk. When she has to listen to her child crying out in pain and there is nothing she can do to stop it. I could stop my daughter’s cries. Even if I had kept driving, she’d have only been hungry for a few more minutes. I was unable to endure even those few minutes. What if I’d had nothing to give her? What if that third world mother was me?

I don’t know how to solve the problem of hunger in the world, but I think if each of us tried to help one family, progress could be made. We can’t always know that we’ve chosen the right charity, but that’s no excuse to do nothing. One group I really like is Heifer International (www.heifer.org .). The organization, which provides domestic animals to families, does more than feed people. It’s the “teach a man to fish” idea in practice. The animals provide meat for families, but they also provide labor, fertilizer, and offspring to perpetuate the gift. A family with a cow can make cheese or sell milk and butter. A family who receives chickens can sell eggs, those with sheep can spin wool. The gift can provide food, a living, and dignity for the family who receives it, along with the joy of giving as they pass along offspring to their neighbors.

I’m not saying that everyone should jump on the Heifer International band wagon, though it’s a pretty good one. There are many organizations and charities out there that do more than just ship bags of rice around the world. It only takes a minute to google them, see if what they do fits your needs, and to start doing something instead of making excuses for what you can’t do. At least we can try.

World Events; A Summary

Monday, April 27th, 2009

Sometimes I think I should blog about world events, so as to be relevant and timely. The trouble is, I don’t really care much about world events. If I did, I’d go live in the world instead of this tiny little corner of Ohio. I don’t watch the news on TV. I read the headlines in the paper and on Yahoo and if something seems interesting and not too scary I might read a little more. Mostly, though, I get my world events from Reader’s Digest.

Here is what I’ve gleaned about world events in the last couple of weeks. The pirates are not in the Caribbean, they’re in the Indian Ocean, except Johnny Depp, who may return to the Caribbean without Orlando Bloom. Or not. There’s a war in the middle east. I could have just guessed on that one. We’re in a recession, or maybe a depression, but in any case, the economy is the worst it’s been since the last time it was this bad. There is flooding in the mid-west (oh, wait, I could have guessed on that one, too.) Global warming is going to get us, and we had a colder than normal winter. The price of natural gas is down. I had a good joke for that but my mother doesn’t allow potty humor.

Lots of people died unexpectedly. Some celebrities did stupid stuff. GM might go bankrupt, and they don’t have Lee Iaccoca to make commercials that win our trust. Our first lady is as fashionable as the first lady of France, and Ruth Bader Ginsberg is getting lonely without another woman to join her in the ladies room at the Supreme Court. And the biggest news of the week? The presidential kids got a new dog. Presidential Dogs are always big news.

 Reading over my list, I notice that the news is just about the same as it was in the year I graduated from high school (and no, I’m not going to tell you what year that was. It’s also the same as the news in whatever year YOU graduated from high school.) Change the name of the celebrity, move the war over a country or two, and insert the correct natural disaster, you’ve got a newscast.

 So there you have it. All the news that’s fit to make fun of. And that’s the way it is on this day in April, 2009. Goodnight, and may the good news be yours.

I’m On Twitter! Now What?

Monday, April 6th, 2009

I’m trying to understand Twitter.  I enjoy thinking that I’m technologically somewhat more knowledgeable than many women my age, and twitter has interested me since I heard about it a while back.  But as a working mom with a non-self-cleaning house, I haven’t found time to explore it until now.  Okay, I was busy updating my Facebook status.

When I heard about Twitter, I was intrigued.  You say whatever you want in a very small number of characters, and complete strangers eagerly follow your thoughts.  How cool is that?  I thought it would be like releasing haiku into cyberspace.  I was eager to try it.

Then I read some tweets.  “Drinking coffee–it’s good.”  “Going to the movies.”  “Feeding the baby.”  While this information may be useful and even interesting to those acquainted with the tweeter, why would random strangers care?  I decided all the followers must be men.  Women are too busy for that.

But now I have a twitter account, and I’ll be telling anyone who cares that I’m having a bad hair day or that I’m too lazy to cook so I”m buying $5 pizza for dinner.  Welcome to my life!

Stop The World

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

Ever just want to yell “Stop the world, I wanna get off!” We used to understand that God made Sunday for just that purpose (or Saturday, if your views lean that way.) God gave us one day a week, and ordered us not to work on that day, and not to require anyone to work for us on that day. God knew what He was doing.

 Years ago, when Sunday was a day of enforced laziness, people tended to forget why God gave us a day off. It was boring and inconvenient, especially if you’d neglected to buy gas on Saturday or were out of some important ingredient for Sunday dinner. Sunday was a day for visiting family or staying home. Lawn mowing was frowned on. Shopping was impossible. With nothing else to do, the family sat down in front of the TV after dinner and watched the Wonderful World of Disney together or attended the Sunday evening service at church.

 Then Sunday Blue Laws became obsolete, and soon you could buy gas on Sunday, making it a good day to travel. Little by little, stores began staying open on Sunday, making it a convenient day to shop. A few years ago, childhood sports developed “traveling teams” to groom elite athletes for high school. As these teams pulled the best athletes from the area, they needed to travel farther to find other elite teams to play. And so children lost their only day off from organized activity. Now games in all sports are often scheduled on Sunday.

 We’re missing something. When we gave up boring Sundays, we gave up the option to rest. We lost a reason to say no to planned activity and just do nothing for an afternoon. When’s the last time you did nothing? It’s inconceivable in today’s world. Doing nothing is viewed as time lost.

 But we’re all tired. We’re physically, emotionally and spiritually tired. And maybe that’s because we were created to work and play hard for six days, and to rest on the seventh. To take a break, and to give others a break, too. God did all the work of creation in six days, and on the seventh day, God rested. If God Himself saw the need to rest, why do we feel lazy when we do nothing for one afternoon? So next Sunday, I’m going to stop the world and get off for a while. I invite all of you to join me.