“What You’re Telling Me Is Impossible”…..

Musing content ahead.  We all make mistakes at times and most of us form opinions that may also turn out to be incorrect because the source we used to form that opinion was flawed in some way. Those are errors we can acknowledge and learn from; it’s part of maturing. On the other hand, many of us have known individuals who hate to admit mistakes and may try to slide responsibility to others. When someone you are supposed to be able to trust lies to you repeatedly, that is another category.

The movie, “Shattered Glass”, is based on a real-life situation of a young reporter for a very prestigious magazine who wanted to be a star. Being in a deadline-driven profession, especially when you have many competitors, comes with a great deal of stress. Maybe this young man simply reacted to a stress event the first time he fabricated part of a story. The movie doesn’t go into that aspect. There was a change of editors at the magazine and the young man in question belonged to a core of writers who were loyal to the previous editor. So, when the initial allegations were made that the young man had seriously erred in an article that was published, most people in the magazine thought it was a jab from the new editor. As it turns out in the course of the movie, the young man had fabricated at least part of more than half the articles he’d written to include during the tenure of the previous editor. One of the senior editors who was refusing to believe they could have all been fooled by him was finally forced to acknowledge the depth of betrayal. When asked why she couldn’t see it, her response was, “Because what you’re telling me is impossible.”  Sadly, we, like those in the movie, can occasionally encounter individuals who for reasons of ambition, or a need for attention, or malice, or other motive will  lie skillfully and repeatedly. I hope you don’t ever have to deal with it, but should you be in such a situation, be willing to accept the possibility.

Rolling Hills and Red Barns…..

Aside from the delightful evening I spent with the members of the Darting Needles Quilting Guild and seeing my old friend for the first time in more than ten years, my trip to Wisconsin gave me the chance to visit a part of the country I had not previously been to. There were indeed lots of rolling hills, very green grass and trees, lovely wild flowers and plenty of barns and silos. Cows, of course and I passed multiple billboards showing various cheese stores. They must also have a huge deer population because there was a surprising number of dead deer along the roadways. I did go zipping past Wisconsin Dells, “The Water Park Capital of the World,” but didn’t have time to stop. It certainly looked like it would be a fun place.

The little town where my friend lives is very much a “Small Town, U.S.A” with only a couple of streets for the downtown, a park at the end, and the post office, City Hall, and senior center all clustered close together. The hospital is fairly new and in addition to robust medical services for a place the size it is, there was a very large fitness center. We did not go inside, but it looked to be well equipped and there was an indoor swimming pool. All of this makes good sense in a place with difficult winters.

A regional fast-food chain was Culvers, but it is a family-based business that emphasizes fresh ingredients and their specialty is frozen custard. It is apparently made fresh on the premises. They do have a small freezer stocked with to-go containers. It’s one of the kind of places where you order at the counter and they bring your food to the table. The staff was quite friendly and I could see why it was a favorite.

Headed Home….

If you have a long layover, Atlanta is a good airport to be in. I haven’t checked the flight status yet, but so far it appears there are no delays. It’s been a good trip, but I’m ready to get home. Of course as it turns out, I am dealing with a couple of issues that have required my attention and I have to follow-up with as soon as I get home. Neither is a good situation, and yet, one of the reasons I am involved with the groups I am is because I bring problem solving skills. Therefore, when we have a problem, my brain does kick into gear. Anyway, that’s not the point of this post.

It’s been a productive trip and on the flight from Milwaukee there was a father and son who apparently booked late. They had to be in separate seats, both a middle and one in front of the other. As the dad was trying to decide who would be in which seat, I smiled and said, “I’ll take care of him if you’d like. It’s been a while since I’ve done this, but I remember how.” He gave me a grateful look and the boy sat next to me. He was incredibly polite and six years old. As it turned out, he did not have a pair of earphones and I had some in my purse. He wanted to watch the Lego Batman movie (he’d only seen it once) and I asked his dad if it would be okay for me to give him mine. It was, and when the service cart came around, the boy asked for apple juice and granola bar rather than soda and cookies. It was a pleasure to see and then as we landed, I watched the dad politely offer to take carry-on luggage down for a woman and gesture for her to precede them into the aisle.  The boy obviously had a good role model.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed for the last leg home and will check back in with a report tomorrow.

Day 3 into Day 4…..

Poignant thoughts alert. Although my time with the quilting guild was absolutely delightful, there was no way they could cover my expenses for this is trip. I came because it was truly fortuitous. Of all the places I could have been invited to speak, what are the odds there would be a group within a five-hour drive of my friend whom  I had not seen since 2003? If one chooses to not believe in such things, that’s fine.

My drive over yesterday was pretty much without incidence, other than the fact they failed to replace a directional sign I needed after doing some roadwork last year. As I was going along and felt perhaps I had missed a turn somewhere, I stopped for a bathroom/beverage break and being female had no problem asking if I had in fact missed a turn. The young lady immediately said, “Oh yes, everyone does that,” and explained the problem. I was only about ten miles off’ so that wasn’t too bad. I arrived within fifteen minutes of my original plan which from my perspective put me on target.

My friend and I passed a pleasant afternoon catching up and reminiscing. We had dinner that night with her daughter who is only a year younger than me and lost her husband unexpectedly Thanksgiving morning. The irony here is I met my friend years ago after she lost her husbandly unexpectedly at the too-young age of forty-five. However, since I lost my first husband unexpectedly at twenty-seven, I was able to help her sort through the intense emotions. And so, last night we were both able to sit there and offer support to her grieving daughter. Such is the power of female friendship.

Day 2 into Day 3 of Trip….

What a charming town Appleton is and what a vibrant quilting community. The presentation tonight was in the First Methodist Church and the lady who’s been coordinating the visit invited me to early dinner at one of the local favorites. Pullman’s is on the river and you go past the old Woolen Mills that have been converted to commercial and residential space. I always love to see that.

I had a number of things I had to deal with while I still have internet connectivity, but went out to scout the area (old Army training) in between. The downtown seems to be thriving (Lawrence College is here) with a couple of museums, a performing arts center, several restaurants, pubs and a beer factory I regrettably won’t have time to try.

Dinner turned out to be with several of the ladies from the quilting guild. Pullmans was a large place with an excellent menu and great ambience. They did do an order of fried cheese curds for the table which were delicious as was the walleye I had. The salads looked lovely, too.

There were I guess around 70 people at the meeting and they had me present, then do their break, then go on into the business meeting and show and tell. If I hadn’t been up since really early, I probably would have stayed because they had some very nice quilts and quilt items to talk about.

As soon as I post this, I’ll pack up and head to Baldwin to visit with my friend until tomorrow afternoon. It’s a bit of a drive, but the point is I will also see more of the state and that is one of my objectives.

 

 

Day 1 of Trip…..

Well, I have had better travel days and much worse. It is in fact the rainy season in South Florida. Therefore, we shouldn’t be overly surprised to have rain. The system did sweep in from the Gulf, but that’s not unusual either. So, when my first flight was already delayed and I noticed about ten minutes before we were to start boarding that we didn’t have a plane yet, I concluded we would be even later. My comfortable margin for changing planes rapidly diminished. Despite the almost 1.5 hours late in departing for the first time that I can recall, I arrived at and departed from the same terminal in Atlanta. Not that the gates were close together, but I was on board on time. The first flight was so turbulent, they couldn’t do cabin service although they did manage to get us a room temperature glass of water not quite 30 minutes before landing. There were lots of apologies even though there really wasn’t anything they could do to affect the situation. Oh, they also offered cookies or pretzels as we left the plane.

Anyway, my suitcase did also make the next flight. In landing during afternoon rush hour in a place I have never been before, it was nice to have sunny weather as I navigated through lots of construction. In all fairness, it’s not as if you can do construction year-round in Wisconsin. I did have good directions and I did By Gosh pass through Oshkosh on my way to Appleton. By coincidence, I also had dinner at Applebees which was next to the motel. Seemed appropriate. I am truly tired and will go explore a bit tomorrow.

What’s One More Deadline?….

First book in the “Small Town” series

I’ll try not to feel guilty about my lapse in posting. It is something I enjoy doing and when I slip up, it bothers me. On the other hand, when I say “Yes” too often, there are only so many hours in a day. On Wednesday I head up to Wisconsin and that has generated some extra, “But can’t you please do…..before you go?”

Anyway, the upcoming trip I briefly mentioned in a previous post is of special interest. A lady from the Darting Needles Quilting Guild contacted me last year about being a guest speaker. I would not normally travel that far, but in this case, there is a dear friend whom I have not seen in many years. It’s about a six-hour drive from where I’ll be presenting, but since I haven’t been to Wisconsin, this should allow me to enjoy some of the state at least. She lives in a very small town which is rather fitting considering I’ll be talking about my Small Town quilting cozy novels. The town where I’ll be presenting is either on or close to Green Bay and sounds like it is charming. There is a university that I suspect will remind me of the small university I graduated from in Louisiana. I’ll be taking a suitcase since I’ll be carrying some books as well as staying a few extra days. That means I can throw in a jacket in case they won’t be having the high 80s/low 90s temperatures I’ll be leaving.

I’m looking forward to visiting a part of the country I’m not familiar with and as usual, I’ll do a daily blog while I’m on the road.

 

 

When The Odds Change….

Serious content alert. This is “odds” as in a mathematical term, not oddities as applies to different things. I’m not certain what keyed the memory. For those old enough to recall the 1970s TV series, “Kung Fu”, you might not have caught the 1990s short-lived “Kung Fu – The Legend Continues”. In the later series, David Carradine played the grandson of his original character and the show took place in modern times. In one episode, an activist had studied with the Master and men he was trying to expose were planning to kill him. At one point, he spoke with the Master and they recalled an exercise the young man had gone through. He’d been surrounded by “opponents” and had asked which ones to strike first. “The ones you cannot see” were the instructions. He held his own for a while, but as he was falling to the mat under the weight of multiple men, he asked what he had done incorrectly. “Nothing,” was the rely. “When the odds are too overwhelming, you will lose.”

With Memorial Day approaching, there will be stories told of men and units who defied what were incredible odds and won. Those are the stories we love to hear and should. There will quite possibly be other depictions of battles lost – battles that perhaps should never have been engaged in or certainly not in the manner they were. The slaughters of World War I come to mind when the deadly consequences of tanks and machine guns were foolishly ignored by generals who wanted to believe they could cling to traditional means of warfare rather than understand the “odds” had been irrevocably changed.

On the other hand, sheer technology does not always win the day as we learned in post-World War II conflicts. Sadly, we enter into another Memorial Day when our troops are still deployed in harm’s way. So, as is the purpose of Memorial Day, do take a few minutes to say a prayer for those who lost their lives in faraway places.

When We Lose A Star…..

Not that one can argue with being handsome, famous, wealthy, and living until almost 90. Yet, I was sorry to hear about Roger Moore’s death. Although his James Bond was played differently from the great Sean Connery, it was a winning approach. I don’t how much that was his choice or how much direction and it doesn’t really matter. Actually, the role I loved him in the best was as Simon Templar in the TV series, The Saint (1960s). I’ll have to see if those are available on DVD and put in an order. We do still have some of our greats around and I usually enjoy the movies that provide a role for them as the aged actor. I also admit, one who returns to the screen is an occasional surprise since I didn’t realize we still had him/her with us.

It is not that genuine celebrities (someone who accomplishes something of note rather than simply being the product of spoiled wealth) are more valued humans than the rest of us. It’s that as an actor, artist, musician, etc., they may very well have created one or more special memories for us – spoken lines we remember forever, recorded a song we still play and cherish, crafted a painting that speaks to people for centuries, made an astounding play in some sport that seems almost impossible. Do I think we give far too much weight to celebrities? Oh yes. It has spawned the everyone wanting their “fifteen minutes of fame” to a degree that is well beyond what it should be. With that said, there are many celebrities who do wonderful good in addition to whatever joy/pleasure it is they bring in the matter of what has made them famous. So this afternoon, I shall definitely offer a toast to Roger Moore.

And Yet Another Insurance….

People who are considering relocating or arenew to the area often aren’t fully aware of certain financial matters. Florida does not have a state tax, yet state income has to have sources. That generally is done through additional fuel, property, and sales tax as well as perhaps higher cost for certain services. Those are the sort of “second-level” costs to be aware of. Home insurance is another. Everyone is accustomed to paying home insurance and often flood insurance. What people don’t necessarily know is the additional polices that can be applied regionally. For us in a water-bordered peninsula state with a six-month long hurricane season, that means windstorm (hurricane) insurance. So, if you have a mortgage (set aside any PMI aspect), you are required to carry separate hazard, flood, and windstorm policies. Not long ago we were notified sinkhole insurance is an optional policy. Before that raises a chuckle, much of Florida has a limestone base and in central, north, and west Florida, there are cave systems. Those equal large (sometimes massive) holes underground. That also makes for potential sinkholes fully capable of occurring suddenly and destructively such as the ground collapsing under part or all of a house. It is common enough that insurance companies are now issuing special policies. In response, there are also now companies that specialize in sinkhole mitigation. These are construction companies that have worked out the warning signs in a house and can come in to perform certain tests and strengthen aspects of the house accordingly.

At this point, coverage is optional here and we are not in one of the counties known as “Sinkhole Alley.” Hopefully, that won’t change.