Such A Long Gap……

I think things may be stabilizing a bit although that doesn’t mean less busy. Among the issues for the past week-plus was a potential problem that required two extra optometry visits. Let me start by saying I’ve been fortunate to have anything other than the occasional painful stye. I do spend a lot of time on the computer and right after Memorial Day I was experiencing what seemed to be shorter times between when I would need a break from looking at the screen and my left eye watering. I wasn’t experiencing any pain. I overdue my annual exam and took that as a sign. The optometrist I’ve seen for years has really cut back her time and I had the new doctor; a very pleasant young lady. They have the type of machines now where your eyes are scanned and photographed from all sorts of angles. Nothing unusual showed up and my prescription didn’t even need to be changed.  The doc gave me mild steroid eye drops for a week with a follow-up. The drops seemed to help and when I returned, she did notice a small cyst in my lower left lid, although I was still not experiencing pain. However, that’s outside their expertise and I was referred to a specialist. Great, just what I needed along with everything else. In not wanting to travel to Kendall, I had to delay the appointment for when the specialist would be in Homestead. It isn’t that I was overly concerned so much as it was I also couldn’t take a chance.

Fortunately, other than the waiting time to be seen being frustratingly long and mild dilation being involved, the cyst is small enough it should resolve without further treatment. (Obviously I let her know if that changes). I was very glad, but there was a different aspect that surprised me. She noted I had some crusting on my left eyelash I hadn’t thought was unusual. She then explained I should wash my eyelashes 3-4 times a week with baby shampoo. Say what? Apparently this is commonplace and having now purchased baby shampoo for the first time in decades, we’ll see how it works.

Another Memory Stirred….

Last week I attended/covered/sponsored the annual Chamber of Commerce Ladies of Legacy Luncheon. As usual, it was quite a line-up with four panelists and the moderator, topped by the Mayor of Miami-Dade County (first female). The Mayor of course could only stay for a short time and spoke about her “journey into leadership” before the moderator posed questions to the panelists. They represented a mix of profit, non-profit, and government.

Not surprisingly, in listening to them, another memory was stirred about my days of “being the first female to…..” As I have posted before, while I held seven such positions over the course of my career, the first most significant from a “ground-breaking one” was at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. That’s because it was a huge installation with a long history and therefore, when I took command of the large maintenance company (right around 300 personnel), it gained a lot of attention. We would also periodically be visited by different general officers, who were almost always unaccustomed to a female being in this position. Not to say they disagreed with it; merely it was a surprise. One time, it was a three-star general I think and during the course of discussion he asked something like, “How long did it take your people to accept you as the commander?” Now, based on his tone and body language, I understood he was actually curious; not trying to put me down. I said something along the lines of, “Not long, sir, everyone got used to it pretty quickly.” We went on through the tour and about an hour after I returned to my office, the Colonel (who was the rank about my direct boss, the Lieutenant Colonel) called me personally to make sure I wasn’t disturbed by the General’s question. I knew the Colonel had been supportive of my selection from the beginning and I assured him everything was fine. It was, however, another interesting moment of “affirmation”.

Sporadic Postings for a While…..

I am in a current situation where a complicated issue has landed in my lap along with everything else I am juggling. This happens to be a time of year when a few annual “extras” are due. Everything is manageable, although does require time. I will post as I am able.

We are in our rainy season and frequent afternoon deluges add an extra dimension to being out and about. On the other hand, after a very rainy morning, then a long stretch of sunshine followed by another round of rain – short intense part, then regular rain –  there was a lovely rainbow and a fainter one above it. I haven’t seen a double in along time.

Which reminds me, if you have time, pop in to read my short story, “Drizzles and Drenches”, it was a fun one to write.  

Hmm, you might have to cut and paste the above link.

Of Cars and Trucks…..

A recent conversation reminded me of one of those amusing aspects when I was in the advanced stage of pregnancy. My first husband and I were solidly with him as a General Motors guy and me as Ford with Dodge close second. Now I actually had one of the first RX-7’s brought into Clarksville, TN when we married. That was because many of us singles had sports cars and while I would have gone for another Mustang; being a “first” with the RX-7 was too hard to resist. Anyway, my husband had a Corvette and I don’t recall how many he’d had prior to that. The point is a distinct lack of cargo space in either car and we did buy a house. With a house you have to do things and my husband was quite handy. That means hauling stuff like bags of mulch, etc., Being newly wed I surprised him when I sacrificed my RX-7 and swapped it out for a Chevy Silverado truck for him. While I didn’t derive any particular pleasure in driving the Corvette, he had it for the weekends.

As I think I’ve posted in the past, I became unexpectedly pregnant early in the marriage and that was all fine and good. I never had any sort of physical problems – no morning sickness or anything serious.  I did deal with the  minor issues like I couldn’t eat certain foods due to getting heartburn more easily. Anyone who is familiar with a Corvette knows it sits low and in the last part of my pregnancy my belly was of course much bigger and, I “carried the baby high”. (Note: wives’ tale said that meant it was a boy and that did turn out to be true). So, trying to get into and out of the Corvette became extremely difficult. Not that climbing in and out of the truck was much better, however, there was a handle on the door and the running board. So here I am at eight months pregnant now driving a big truck while my husband had his Corvette back. In truth, we knew we would need a family car (that was before they had extended cabs options to allow for a “back seat” in trucks). Not long before son made his appearance, my husband decided he did like having a truck and traded out the Corvette for a Buick Electra.

Not Exactly Catching Up……

This is one of the times when the absolute “musts” due to deadlines are being done and other things are staying high on the priority list with no let-up for probably another week. It is simply the “nature of the beast” because several events/obligations were previously scheduled and other important items were put on hold as I dealt with everything surrounding the trips to Louisiana. There are limited tasks others can assist with and while some of that will improve in the future, it doesn’t apply right now.

Okay, with that said, I have been up since 4:00 this morning and may very well try to lie down for a bit before dinner. No doubt that will cause the phone to ring or a text to come in, but maybe not. Speaking of dinner, it’s grilled pork chops and leftover clean-up for sides plus salad. Nothing is complicated nor time-consuming which helps. I managed to polish off one leftover for lunch so refrigerator space is becoming manageable again. I did forget we are dining out Thursday as we have an art swap to do. This involves about an hour and a half of somewhat chaotic swapping art in an exhibit, getting drinks for people, having some individuals who are coming for the social aspect and others merely to pop in and out. Hanging the exhibit might go fairly quickly although that is never a guarantee. Then it’s dinner which probably will go fairly quickly as they now close at 9:00 and won’t be urging us to linger. The “forgetting” part means I bought groceries I will have to freeze which is okay as we had also cleaned that out somewhat.


Repeat Louisiana Trip, Day 5…..

Didn’t get the catfish after all; just one of those things. Had a mix-up in some paperwork and had to go back by the lawyer’s office which then threw me off in timing and knew the place would be packed. Estate issue will be more complicated than I hoped, but it can’t be helped. Also different than what I dealt with in Maine with that one; each state has their own way of doing things.

On the up side, the weather did warm up nicely during the day and it was all sunshine. Did meet my girlfriend for dinner; Two Johns is still a nice tradition for us. She lost her mother last year, so discussed those things. She is also retired now; well back working a few days. Her second grandchild – little boy this time – is 8 months old; cute video of his 3 year old sister with him. I explained I still plan to make an annual trip to be able to see ,my aunt, cousins, and old friends. I might swap from the fall though as there have been  times when football games have caused disconnects with getting together.

Anyway, I couldn’t sleep so came on to the airport and of course the coffee guy isn’t even open yet. I have hopes by 5:30 though. Unlike MIA there are vending machines which means Coke Zero is a caffeine option if necessary. Okay, enough for now and am hoping no delays in flights.

Repeat Louisiana Trip, Day 4……

Am continuing with various tasks. Estate issues come with complications no matter what. I won’t get into specifics as they aren’t pertinent to the blog. (I will renew my annual promise to update our wills; perhaps I’ll even do so this time). My good friend is available for dinner in Bossier tonight and I’ll relocate this afternoon. One more trip to the post office and the lawyer’s office, then I’ll go to Cotton’s for lunch. I’ve done many take-outs from there. That was Daddy’s favorite when it became too awkward for him to go out in his wheelchair. He preferred the catfish and fried shrimp combo. He would eat the hush puppies too, ignore the french fries and give me the coleslaw.

Dinner tonight will of course be the exact opposite at Two Johns Steakhouse as I have written about before. I hope it hasn’t changed since the last time. That was actually two years ago as my friend wasn’t in town when I was here in October nor did I try to get in touch on the trip a few weeks ago; that was simply too hectic.

This will be a short post in order for me to pop down for one more coffee and complete two or three things on my to-do list. Hubby is finishing up a class today and he’s currently scheduled to be off to be able to pick me up tomorrow. I will try to remember the place closest to security is probably the one open rather than the one by the gate. I had to back-track last time to grab a coffee before boarding.


Repeat Louisiana Trip Day 3……

Emotional content alert. Yesterday was the visitation and funeral. Although we did not know most of the church and Gideon people, two individuals who had been neighbors came to pay their respects. One non-family individual was special to my sister and I as we all went to school together a very long time ago when we lived in the small town of Sibley, just a few miles south of Minden. The most touching was our cousin who drove down from Tennessee and was starting back after the funeral. He’s the youngest of the five children of my aunt. None of them knew he was coming either and my aunt was of course happy to see him even for a short while. In some ways, this was difficult for her too, as there are only two of the siblings/spouses still with us; her and my mother’s older sister.

My sister did a great job with the eulogy and managed it without stopping to cry. I was unaware of one of the stories she told – well, two. Daddy and his three brothers had the distinction of being the first group of siblings to all complete high school in the rural area they grew up in. Part of that was the local school only went to 8th grade. In order to go to high school, that was the next town over. Commuting with only usually one truck per family – which would have been needed  at home – was not really an option. For Daddy and my uncles, living and working at the boarding house was the way.

The weather had cleared as predicted with temperature in the low 50s; the wind sharp. The graveside part was fairly brief. We said good-by to the relatives. The step-siblings and families were exhausted from the weeks leading up to the day. We decided on not gathering for dinner so it was my sister and I to have that final time at the Mexican restaurant.

Repeat Louisiana Trip, Day 2…..

Hard to believe just two full days. Weather was terrible yesterday and I had a lot of driving to do. Temperature never got above 37, and was mostly 34 with dips to 32. Fortunately, that wasn’t sustained and there was enough traffic to keep any slick spots away. I started out at 8:30 for an extra  task that caused me to drive back to the airport, then down south to see aunt and cousins. I knew we wouldn’t get to talk at the funeral and I did have to ask cousin who is judge a couple of estate questions. The rain never let up, merely shifted from light to a bit heavier. It could have been worse, but was tiring to deal with. Sis wanted to do dinner early as she was tired from revising eulogy and taking care of some other stuff. We went to Roma again and since neither of us had an umbrella, I let her off and was able to park not far from the door. She had her first limoncello cake and truly enjoyed it. I keep forgetting to ask since I think they have someone local who does their desserts.

I thought I would sleep last night, but it was wake up every two hours although I did go back to sleep pretty quickly. I finally gave up at 4:00. Had a Facebook message from cousin in Texas; knew there was someone I’d forgotten to notify. It does get a bit jumbled. Today will be long; family time at the church at 12:00; visitation at 1:00; funeral at 2:00, graveside after. Not sure who all will be available for dinner tonight. We’re going to his favorite Mexican restaurant – well, his favorite here anyway. Good news is rain has passed as predicted and temp will get to low 50s by time for cemetery. He will actually be buried next to Mother in the same way my stepmother was buried next to her first husband.

Repeat Louisiana Trip, Day 1…..

Emotional content continues. We thought our father’s rally might sustain for a while. My sister called me Monday afternoon, Feb 21 with word he had passed away. She and her husband were headed back Tuesday, but I explained my situation with the friend in rehab to everyone. I wouldn’t be able to travel until Friday, the 25th. As it turned out, due to other circumstances, Sunday the 27th was going to be the best day for the funeral.

Ironically, my schedule for this trip is identical as the previous with the 5:24 a.m., out of Miami on a Friday and I’m scheduled to return on the 6:30 from here on Wednesday. The difference was I did use my “faithful driver” as he always claimed he was fine with pre-dawn pick-ups and was at our door his usual cheerful self at 3:15 a.m., yesterday. The drawback this time was the section of the airport we were in had absolutely nothing open; and as I had observed last time, there are no vending machines in the airport. Despite the many trips through MIA, I’d never noticed that. I’ll probably email about it at some point. There were two places preparing to open for what I imagine was a 5:00 a.m., start. That is early, but not quite early enough. I did have half a cup of coffee on the ride in and managed to make it until they served us a small cup on the flight.

Connection at DFW was still tight although a little better as the terminal for the swap was closer than before. The delay came in a ridiculously long wait to pick up the rental car. I did make it to the lawyer’s office before their lunch break to get the documentation I need as executor. My sister and brother-in-law then met me at Burger King for lunch before we went to take care of a critical piece of bank business.

In another of life’s ironic twists, our brother can’t come up because he and his wife have some cold/mild flu – COVID tests negative, but carrying any germs into a crowd these days is not appropriate.