30 June 2015

Gifts that keep on giving, or not.

Pretty sure I mentioned it before, but it won't hurt to do so again...

My brain is going to Harvard.  I figure, some part of me should go, and I doubt I'll do so in this lifetime.  So, I've made arrangements for my brain to go to Harvard after I die.

Your brain can go too!  Why?  Well, Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center {Brain Bank} collects and studies the neurobiological differences between "normal" {no neurological, no neuropsychiatric disorders}, individuals with neurological &/or neuropsychiatric disorders, and familial individuals' brains too.   It's the largest repository of brains and brain tissue, used for study for determining what sort of differences there might be between various types of brains, with hopes that the more that we learn about the brain, the more we can help treat various disorders and diseases.

So say you're all enthusiastically supportive and ya wanna do this too.  Here are a few things you might want to know that may help to facilitate the collection process.  First off, be sure this is what you want.  Read up on the material and fill out the forms, send them in, and be sure that you've discussed your wishes with those around you.

Your body and brain becomes the property of your estate upon death.  This usually means that the next of kin becomes the owner of the body, although there are certain state and federal laws you {they} must abide by.  So regardless of YOUR wishes, if your next of kin {or whomever is the executor of your estate} is not hip to them, they might not be carried out.  So be sure to talk with your peeps, dude.

It's a good idea to have all the pertinent info, especially contact numbers, handy.  I've a list that I, my husband, and a few others keep in their wallets.  It has that contact number on it, along with the steps to be taken, along with a list of my current medications.  It's all typed out, clearly.

It's hard enough to deal with a loved one's dying and death, so make it easier on everyone involved by having all the steps right there, within reach to refer to, printed out.  Donation of organs, tissues, bodies, and BRAINS is a time~sensitive issue and must occur within hours of death, in most cases.  In some cases, minutes.  Usually doctors, coroners, and organizations are involved, so take care of as much of what you can, beforehand.

Also, be sure that your estate is NOT responsible for the cost, unless that is a non~issue.  For me, I'd like my body to go to the University of Tennessee's "Body Farm" in Knoxville~~BUT, that's not going to happen, because they have a policy that states that your estate incurs the cost of transportation of your body to their location {unless you died within a hundred miles of their facility}.  There are all sorts of laws regarding interstate body transfer, and it's expensive.  So I'd rather not fuss with that.

Instead, I do have the University Hospital, in Jackson, Mississippi listed as the recipient of my body sans brain.  They prefer whole body donation, however, they can use partials for educational, medical, research purposes.  If my brain isn't harvested by Harvard, then whole body donation is an option for cadaver classes {Gross Anatomy}.

And there are other options as well, such as organ and tissue donation, as well as bone donation.  Or perhaps no donation would be acceptable, depending on circumstances of death.  In which case, cremation is my wish.

Lots to think on, so make plans now, for then.

23 June 2015

Plumbing Problems: we all have them, sometime or another

Those of you who are familiar with the Wolf Compound can skip right over this first paragraph and not miss much, so see ya in a bit.  My husband's grandfather left the acreage we live on to my husband back more than a couple few years ago.  I never met Big Daddy, but by all accounts, I'd've liked to.  He and Mama Jenny lived in a lil house which is no longer on the property, having been bought by a cousin of the pack and moved down the road a bit.  But the foundation still sits in the field, marking the middle to the road front property here.  To the west of that old place was the home where their daughter {my husband's mother} lived until a year or so ago, and further to the west of that, was at one point where her daughter {my husband's sister} lived, which then became the location for my husband's youngest daughter's family, and eventually my mother moved her trailer into that location.  To the east of what had been Big Daddy's is my husband's place, where he and his first wife raised their five children, none of whom live here currently, but all of whom have lived somewhere on the land at some point as adults, I think.  Well, perhaps not all of them.  To the east of the place we live in now, was where his oldest daughter and her family lived for fourteen years.  So when I say, "Wolf Compound", I'm only sort of joking, the rest of me is serious as can be, and with good reason.

Lemony Snicket's lakeside house, well not HIS house...
Now, Jerry's mother is 80 and she does not live here anymore; she finally got her wish and lives in a nursing home, and loves it.  So we decided to rent out her place.  We weren't too rushed to put anyone in there, when we wanted to take our time and find the right folks, someone who might be there for longer than a year, someone who might be good tenants and not cause lots of complications and grief, and so we took our time, since we had lots of other stuff going on too.  In February, a young woman expressed an interest and she fit all the criteria~~she gave off good people vibes, ya know?

In March she signed the lease with a move in date scheduled for sometime about now, the mid to end of June.  So skip with me ahead a few months til last week when my husband is out mowing the various yards.  Normally, this means he gets all sweaty and dusty and grassy and a lil grit thrown in too.  But this time, he showed up at the front door after a few hours of mowing, and he was just caked with mud; which is odd, cuz we've been having a bit of a dry spell, relatively speaking.

Well, it turns out that the western end of his mother's place was sorta mucky and swampy, which was odd, cuz the rest of the yard was not.  So he goes hunting for a leak, which we hadn't noticed because no one was living there for awhile and Jerry hadn't had a chance to mow in a couple few weeks.  He discovers at least one leak, but couldn't get to it.  He tried, hence the caked mud attire, to squirm under the house to get to the leaky pipe.  Couldn't do it.

after the not Lemony's Snicket's
lakeside house falls into the lake
So we called a plumber.  And another one.  Then two more.  And then yesterday, after the first four or five didn't show up either when they said or call back; we got in touch with someone who it turns out my husband knows but had forgotten because how often do we need a plumber?  More often than you might think.

This morning, said plumber comes by and we chat for a few moments; he graciously allowed me to gather my straying wits as I earlier described on FaceBook {you can read about it here}.  Then he went off to see what was what.  Half an hour later, he was back and the prognoses is not good.

The problem isn't the leak, per se; it's access to the pipe.  There isn't any access at the moment.  So we're going to have to cut an access area, thru the brick.  And then we're still not entirely sure that will be enough to grant access, because there isn't a lot of clearance between the house and the ground.  Oh, and the tongue that allowed the home to be towed and moved onto the property some seventeen years ago or so has been cut off and, I do think, shoved under the house.  Right about where the plumbing for the master bath and laundry is.  So we're not exactly sure what we'll find.

We'll take it as it comes, cuz it's gotta be done, and it's gotta be fixed.

{*sigh*}

The Strangest Accident of which He was NOT a Part

Rather than focus on the current plumbing skituashun, I thought I'd share a lil something that happened the other day for your reading enjoyment.  Use your imagination here, I'll paint the verbal image, and provide a few sketches to help you along the way...but I'm sure that your own imagination will have you shaking your head, chuckling, or face~palming {preferably the next stupid person you encounter, if only mentally}.

My husband drives a smartCar, a bright yellow one, and many people are captivated by it; pointing it out to others, sometimes to their own detriment because they tend to forget that they are operating vehicles themselves.  So you might already see where this is heading.  Sure you do, cuz you is smart.  If so, you might already be giggling.

So the other day, he is at the gas pumps, at one of these new fangled gas stations that have twenty or
thirty islands and five or six entrances to three or four different roads.  You might even know which gas station it is, but if not, you can probably still imagine such a place and the potential chaos that can ensue if just one monkey gets thrown into the mix, let alone if that monkey is wrenching their neck around and ogling my husband's lil car instead of paying attention to what they are doing.  Yes, you can see a whole barrel of monkeys let loose, can't you?

I knew you could.

So there stands my husband, gas nozzle at about hip height, filling up the lil smartCar~~which takes about three minutes because the tank is lil too.  He's standing there, watching the car backing out of the parking slot at the convenience store.  The guy driving is excitedly pointing the smartCar out to his passenger and still backing out.  My husband sees this, and starts to make wild arm waving gestures and the man waves back, just grinning away.

You must see where this is heading, right?  Cuz the guy backing up sure didn't.  Not even with my husband trying to get his attention and now adding a few yells of "hey there, STOP, HOLD IT, STOP" into the upcoming fray.  But nope, the backing~up guy just continues to wave right back, while not paying attention to anything other than my husband and his bright yellow car.

{sigh}

Meanwhile, through one of the entrances that is at the end of the row of parking slots, whips another vehicle, going a bit too quickly for the locale; but ya know, they had places to go, things to do, people to see, cuz they's impo'tant.  And then that straight fast car's driver gets all caught up in the spirit of awesomeness of my husband's car too.  In fact they might have even mouthed something like, "oh look!  how cute!"  Not exactly sure because that is NOT what they were saying a few seconds later.

Now it's hard to tell who made first contact, but backing up guy kept backing and straight fast car plowed straight on and they met with great force and rending of clothing and gnashing of teeth, sworn epitaphs, and ludicrous statements of finger pointing, fist shaking, and yelling.  The police officer who was exiting from the store with his co'cola, shook his own head, and flipped out his tablet, all set to do his thing, which involved a lot of listening and then explaining.

He agreed that yes, an accident report would be filed, with both of them at fault.  No, it is not my husband's fault that they were not paying attention to their own vehicles instead of gawking at the parked vehicle that was at the gas pump, getting gas.  No, not even tho the car is bright yellow.  Well, sir, if you were captivated, you should have safely parked your car and THEN let your imagination run rampant.  And no, it really does not matter who had the right~away in this case because neither of you were paying attention.  No, again, the gentleman is NOT responsible for your distraction.  Well, see you both admitted that you were not paying attention.  And no, it doesn't matter that the car is yellow, or cute, or novel.

{sigh}

Then the police office meandered over to my husband and asked him how the gas mileage was on that lil smartCar. Cuz he is kind.  And smart.  And impo'tant.

22 June 2015

Sophie Approved



This throw is going to be a lil over 40"x56", in about fifteen more rows or so.

It meets Sophie's approval.

I'm so very glad.

21 June 2015

Fathers

Today's Fathers' Day, a time when children call their fathers or visit them, giving them neckties,
grilling accessories, and so forth.  Those things were never really appropriate for my dad.  Visiting with him, yes, of course~~if that was possible.  Sometimes we lived states away from each other.  At those times, a phone call would do.  Most times, a card was given.

Choosing the right card can be tricky.  Because usually the typical father's day cards mentioned golf, boating, fishing, etc.  Dad didn't do those things.  Well he did go fishing, but not with such an undying passion that would necessitate a card devoted to it.

I do not remember ever giving my dad a necktie.  He seldom wore them and had a few that would suffice if a wedding, funeral, or day in court arose.  So lots of the typical images of fatherhood just didn't seem to fit.

My father is a complex man in that he's not the most predictable person.  He's a simple man in that his needs are few.  He is a great listener, a deep thinker, and can tell the most amazing stories.  He has a great sense of humor, is charming, and has a capacity for kindness, caring, and love.

So if your father doesn't fit into the model commercial image of dad's day pictures; so what?  As long as you dad was your dad, a good man with an interest in you and someone you can turn to in moments of celebration, sharing those victories in life, a parent you can depend on to extend support, when you need it the most, a listening ear, offering sage advice, and as long as YOU are happy with you dad, who cares if he doesn't wear a necktie, goes golfing, or owns a pair of dock shoes.

Your dad is probably the onliest one you're gonna have, so be glad of him.  I love you dad, and I hope you've a great day today and always.  Huggles and chuckles, your dear daughter debra.

19 June 2015

Just Sayin'

I'm not always the easiest person to get along with {*gasp*, no! really?} and at times can be persnickety as all get out.  Usually that happens when I am feeling out of control and so feel the need to regain or maintain what control there is, by grousing over the seemingly trivial things.  To me, at that moment, those are big things, very important, and they matter.  To others, especially those who do not know me personally, those trivial things are just that, small and inconsequential to the big overall picture of forests and trees.  I'm down there spazzing over the leaves and roots, and others are all, "chill, woman, those pine needles will be fine!"

On the other hand, there are lots of times when I'm way over on the other end of the spectrum, with huge grandiose sweeping visions of possibilities with very little idea of how to break that down into actual plans for making that happen.  At those moments, I'm all, "thousands of acres of national parks with paths and camping and intentional instruction of the natural plants around them...whadja mean, THE forest?  I'm talking thousands upon thousands of acres..."

Mostly I live in the midlands, in more moderate conditions of, "yup there's a forest of all sorts of trees there, and here's another forest of all sorts of trees, maybe there is a way to make these forests more productive or hey here's an idea, maybe we should just leave the forests alone and appreciate them for what they are".

Believe it.  Or not.  Up to you.  But sometimes  being capable of seeing all the various perspectives is not nearly as beneficial as you might think.  Sometimes seeing all those perspectives, with the pros and the cons and the yeas and the nays, can be overwhelming and can actually almost become paralyzing.

And then I'm not good to anyone because I cannot even be good for myself.  The possibilities are mind~blowing and not necessarily in a good way.  My mind has taken a few too many blows over the years and while the occasional stretch is a good thing, allowing me to build new ideas as I reassemble my blown mind into a fully functioning model; somewhere along the way, resiliency is lost and understanding and seeing everything no longer feels fun and freeing.  Instead, it feels overwhelming and threatening, it feels terrifying and frustrating.  It can swallow me whole and leave behind blown mind~bits that might have been useful at one point but are now odds and ends that I can't find, but sorely need.

This is why the recreational drug escape route that so many flock to with zest and zeal because it helps them to expand has never really been my thing.  I worked too hard to get where I am, which is right here, now, in the moment, with some plans for the future and some familiarity of the past.  It's too hard for me to keep balanced in the here and now to actively seek another mind~blowing experience of which I don't retain some control.  I've fought hard to maintain a balance or moderate range within my life, to go upsetting that apple cart to get to the grapefruit.

So when folks ask me why I take the medication I do, my reply is that the meds I take keep me here and functioning, for the most part.  Because I can only speak for me and my experiences, I can tell you that I hesitate to disturb the fine balance we've achieved to introduce an alternative to what I already have established.  My resiliency is not great anymore, and knowing that about myself makes me less inclined to be adventuresome in very many ways now.  I'm spinning and balancing too many full plates of different sizes and some will fall and shatter.  So it's a matter of choosing which are worth the energy it takes to focus on maintaining.

Sometimes I walk the line, other times I sit on the cliff; but usually, I'm dancing to my own drummer in the forest of pines.

16 June 2015

Truly a work of art

I don't remember where or when I picked up this book, but it is very likely that I'd gotten it from the freebie table at our local public library a few years back.  Since I have stacks of books which are piled in various areas, along with overflowing bookshelves in just about every room in the house; I am never caught up on my reading.  There are many books that I have intentions of having had read, but have not yet done so.  Any bibliophile can not only understand this, but is most definitely in the same tub, along with the proverbial butcher, baker, and candlestickmaker...because we all make odd bedfellows.

The point is tho that this particular book called to me in cheerful tones of beckoning loveliness because storytelling and quilts.  I love storytelling, both to listen/read and to actually tell {or ya know, write}.  And I admire quilts, quilting, especially handmade quilts.  So I started to read this and quickly determined that this is the adult equivalent of "Little House on the Prairie", soddies, buckboards, midwest, and all.  I say "adult" not because it is pornographic, but because Laura Ingalls Wilder's series tends to be written for and read by children.

Both Wilder and Grace Snyder rely on their daughters to tell their stories, to tell them accurately, and from the perspective of the mothers not the daughters {Rose and Nellie, respectively}.  Both focus on the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and what life was like for them personally, for their neighbors in general, and also how the world's events influenced their lives as well.  There are many similarities, of course, and many differences as well.

It's taking me an unusually long time to read this book, in part because I am having problems focusing for long on any one thing.  This is reminiscent to me of when I was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and so forth.  The main difference between now and then is that at that point, I was having problems functioning at all; while I am comparatively in a much better frame of mind now.

In part though, another more importantly positive reason that it is a longer than usual process for me to read this book is because I have been thinking a lot while I read.  So two or three paragraphs will find me an hour later no further along in the text, but in my mind, I've covered miles and miles of dry sandhills and dusty plains.  Earlier today, I told my husband that I am sure that I would not have survived the brutal workload and harsh conditions of childhood had I been born during that time period.  I am in awe of the fortitude these people had to deal with life, let alone to make that life beautiful in creative and functional ways.

The quilt featured on the cover of the aptly named No Time on My Hands is the Flower Basket Petit Point.  Grace Snyder received permission, and a full set of china dishes, from the Salem, Ohio company which inspired this pattern and design, complete with the flowers' colors.  This quilt is now part of the International Quilt Study Center & Museum, at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.  How many pieces are in this king~sized quilt?

Just under 86 thousand.

No Time on My Hands.


12 June 2015

June 12th Thoughts

My husband suggested that we head downtown for a bit today, with our computers, have some lunch, coffee {decaf for me, please}, and spend some time reading and writing.  This is a perfect way to spend today, thank you very much, Mister Wolf!  With all the noise in my head, I wanted to pick just one thing to focus on to write about and that wasn't happening.

So I decided to google "June 12" and see what there was to see!  I opened the first ten links and read about what this date meant in various wars, battles, and political arenas {Virginia Declaration of Rights adopted, for instance}.  In 1942, Anne Frank received a diary for her thirteenth birthday, which most school children during the fifties, sixties, seventies, and into the eighties went on to read.  Not sure if it is still required or recommended for reading in the education curricula now or not.

Who knows how many diaries began due to kids reading Frank's own writings from those tumultuous
years?  It's been awhile since I read a translation, but I do recall that she wrote from where she was in her life, she wrote of her possible future, she wrote of the petty, the wistful, the anger, the hurt, the confusion, the dreams, the beginnings of teen angst, and the mature insights of human nature in general.  We all have similar insights, regardless of age, socio~economic status, ethnicity, or locale.  It's how we share them, even with ourselves, taking notice of our selves, our thoughts, those around us, the world's current events, and so forth.  Frank was able to record such things, in large part because she had to have hours of stillness, of quiet contemplation, of inactivity, of being with her own thoughts.  Circumstances were such that she could not run about, play with friends, turn to others.  She had herself for company, and altho there were others present, she didn't have peers to chat with.  Her socialization was extremely altered from the world she had known and from the world we know today.

There are many of us who have written pen pals, diaries, blogs, etc.  We start them with good intentions to continue them, to write regularly, to record significant steps.  But most of us don't.  How many baby~books have you seen that are actually written in, let alone finished?  I think most of us might have good intentions, but life occurs and things happen and priorities take place and there are only so many hours in the day, so much time we have to devote, and so forth.

Some folks are internally conflicted, because their intentions was good, but the other stuff sounds like excuses.  I believe tho, that those other things that arose were important to ourselves too, and we did them because we can and because we are LIVING.  And those things are good for us too.

Johanna Spyri authored Heidi,  When I was a child, I read my mother's copy of that book from when she was a child.  That copy is long since gone, it was ruined in the fire during the early eighties, when I was twelve or so.  I loved the book, the story.  When I first saw the movie, I fell in love with Shirly Temple and wanted to sleep in a hay filled loft, eating goats' milk cheese and drinking milk straight from the cow.

In 2010, a professor came across a book that was written by Hermann Adam von Kamp before Spyri's Heidi.  In fact, it might have been Spyri's familiarity with that story that led to her own.  Adelaide:  Das Madchen vom Alpengebirge {Adelaide, the girl from the Alps} and Heidi share similar plot and imagery.

Not having read Adelaide, I cannot address the matter in particular; except to say that there are many versions of the common plot lines, rags to riches, ill fated lovers, overcoming some obstacle to reach goal, and so forth.  And there are many times ideas will form to various folks simultaneously, just ask anyone who works with the patent, trademark, and registration offices.  So while I do NOT support plagiarism, I do support the expression of your own creativity, as odd or as similar as it might be to anything already in existence.

Very very few of us are completely unique.  We build upon what has come before us, what we know the world to be, and take it a step further.  We are all of us individuals in the combination of elements that make us who we are, yes.  But we are all star stuff, just like everyone else.