Saturday, January 22, 2011

If Not For My Goddaughter, I Might Have Been Killed!!!

Note:  For anybody who has read this story earlier and now notice changes in the first part, it was because I had heard Michelle tell this story quickly and had remembered it incorrectly.  Originally, I'd thought that both girls were in the house, but Julie (Michelle's older sister) had gone to Indianapolis with their mom and dad, so Michelle was alone in the house when this happened.
There are many ways in which my telling of this story might begin.

One way might be to tell you a story that I didn't know about my almost 33 year old goddaughter Michelle until she told it to me this past Wednesday--something that happened to her when she was a child.

She had gone somewhere and wasn't expected back home anytime soon, so her mom and dad had thought nothing of locking the house when they took her older sister, Julie, to Indianapolis.

However, Michelle had decided to return home unexpectedly.

When she found herself locked out, she decided to enter through one of the windows.

In order to reach the window, Michelle climbed onto the gas meter--not realizing that this action had done some damage to it that created a gas leak.

Michelle has an extra-sensitive sense of smell, so she began to realize that there was an odd odor coming into the house from somewhere, but she was too young to realize what it was.

She began to feel very drowsy, and the next thing she knew was being surrounded by paramedics and other emergency workers.

When her mom, dad, and sister had arrived home, they were met with the strong odor of gas and called for help.

Inside the house, they found Michelle unconscious.

Thankfully, they had arrived on time before Michelle had ended up dying--if not from inhaling the gas into her lungs from the house exploding into flames!!!

When Michelle learned--and understood the significance of--what had almost happened, the odor she had been smelling made a deep and permanent impression on her brain.

Fast-forward into late 2009 or early 2010. . .

Michelle and her family were still living in Muncie at the time but had been doing some house hunting in Anderson and the surrounding area in order to find a place to live that was closer to Nestle where her husband, Allan, had recently gotten a job (July of 2009).

While they were over this way, they decided to drop by for a visit.

Due to a leaky roof and deteriorating door, my enclosed front porch (which still looks beautiful from the outside for the most part) had turned into a bad joke, and Michelle wanted to make repairs for me.

I told her that money was tight so, as much as I would like something like that, I would have to take a rain check on it. 

She responded that money wasn't an issue and that we would work something out.

She also was wanting to put in my handicapped-friendly shower and do a few other things around the house.  However, she needed to take care of some things for her own family before she began.

The winter of 2009-2010 was a rough one.

In February of 2010, Aunt Kate (80 years old; blind to some degree since birth and totally-blind for at least thirty years; widowed since late December of 2002 and living alone even before then when Uncle Don went to the nursing home; and dealing with Parkinson's) suddenly found herself without the help on whom she had depended.

It turned out that one family who had helped her were housebound, without either a car or phone (the last being shut off due to not being able to afford to pay the bill).

Another regular helper had suddenly received the news that her sister (who lived close to 1000 miles away) had taken seriously-ill and needed her help.

In her rush to leave, she had forgotten to tell Aunt Kate that she wouldn't be available.

There was my mom and me, but we were also housebound due to the weather not agreeing with some of our physical conditions.  In fact, we were also snowed-in (as in not being able to get out even if we were physically up to it until we decided to pay for snow removal, and, with money being tight, we couldn't be having this done all of the time).

We stayed in touch with Aunt Kate by phone and tried to get some help for her.

We didn't know this at the time, but it would turn out to be the start of a long and winding journey that took us to when Aunt Kate passed away on August 13 and, in some ways, beyond.

I won't go into everything here, as I want to get to how Michelle ended up not only saving my life but, also, the lives of several others, but, in short, it has been a very busy and challenging time for us.

The same can be said about Michelle.  One of the changes that she and her family went through in the autumn of 2010 was making the move to Anderson.

Instead of buying a house at this time, they signed an 18-month lease on a house in order to give them more time to get familiar with Anderson as a place to live so that they could shop at leisure for just the right permanent home.

Michelle and I have plans to start making repairs to my house within the next couple of weeks or so--starting with replacing the kitchen sink (which is an even worse joke than the front porch).

A combination of busy schedules and lack of funds have stood in the way of this endeavor until now.  While my mom and I still don't have the funds ourselves, we're expecting some to arrive soon.  Michelle has some resources to help us out in the meantime.

Originally, however, we had hoped to start working on the enclosed front porch in 2010--which included expanding it.

This meant that the gas meter would have to be relocated--and it was on November 12.  It's very easy to remember this date for two reasons:  

It was Stuart's birthday, and I thought that it was pretty neat that I was making progress on my place right on the birthday of Chicago's Snake Charmer.

The next day would be Jaylee's birthday--and she was the daughter of the friend who would be reconnecting the meter to the house with a long pipe, once the meter, itself, had been set up.  I had gone to Zinszer's to pick up some cookies as a birthday present for her.  Due to conditions not being favorable for me to get out a few days before, I had hurried to get the shopping done while Ed was still there doing his part.

Ed's part, of course, had absolutely nothing to do with the moving and installation of the meter, itself.

Because my mom and I had been struggling to keep afloat ourselves and to continue paying off expenses related to Aunt Kate, even the moving of the meter had been delayed past when I'd originally hoped to do it (in late summer or early fall), and this was a busy time of year.  

It was getting towards winter, so the gas company had a lot of assignments to get done quickly before the weather got to the place where they couldn't.  

I had been told that it might be as much as four weeks before they could get to my job, so I considered myself lucky when I found out that they would be able to get to me in about half that time.

Now, I was all ready for the concrete to be laid, which would be the preparations needed in order to not only extend the porch but, also, give me an enclosed carport and walkway leading to it just in time for winter!

Unfortunately, before Michelle, Allan, and other members of her crew had the chance to lay the concrete, the ground alternated between being too wet, too cold, or both to get the job done.

This would have to wait until spring.

When I told Ed that it looked as if the pipe leading to the house (which was, originally, going to be encased in a protective shell, both in the area where the extended porch would be and in the area between the porch and the trees where I was going to place a wildflower garden in hopes of luring hummingbirds and butterflies) wasn't going to be covered beyond the protective wrapping that he had put on it, he reassured me that--unless something happened like somebody jumping up and down on it--it wasn't in any danger of busting.

Of course, I was very relieved to hear that news.

And this brings us to yet another place where this story could begin:

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Kevin Smith--who had already served us well as the Mayor of Anderson a few years ago--has decided to run again!

One of the ways he's raising funds is to sell delicious and inexpensive lunches to anybody wanting to drop by Republican Headquarters.  Not every day, mind you but frequently.

This past Wednesday was such a day.

Had the weather been dry, my mom and I probably would have picked up Pinky, and the three of us would have headed up there so that Pinky could have picked up three carry-out orders. 

However, it was typical Indiana winter weather--and, perhaps, even more "typical" than average.

Bud--who would have usually been the one to run errands like this for us--was staying over in Noblesville with his significant other and her kids for days on end instead of commuting back and forth to Anderson.

Not only did we want to participate in Kevin's campaign lunch but, also, I had some Aunt-Kate-related business needing taken care of as well (delivering a document).

I really felt funny about sending anybody out in this weather, but I decided to call Michelle, as I knew that she got out and about in relation to her kids' activities.

Michelle would tell me later that she was having mixed feelings about going out, as she'd actually had no personal need to go out and was feeling all warm and cozy sitting inside.

Had I known this at the time, I never would have called her up.

As it turned out, it was a blessing (an understatement) that she did decide that she wanted to help us out and that it wouldn't be that much trouble for her.

She went right from her house to Republican Headquarters to pick up the lunches--and she got to meet Kevin and was very favorably impressed with him!

Then, she drove out to deliver them, running an errand for Allan while she was out our way.

She dropped off my mom's lunch first and, then, came down to drop off mine.  She was going up to take care of some things for my mom while I ate lunch and finished preparing the Aunt-Kate-related information.

However, she smelled a familiar-and-unwelcome odor.

She informed me that I had a gas leak and should call my gas company sooner-than-immediately.

I did this while she returned to my mom's place.

They sent somebody out in no time flat and had given me instructions over the phone not to get near to the meter until it was checked out and, if necessary, repaired.

Part of the instructions were that I wasn't to make any phone calls and I was to leave the receiver off the hook after the person at the gas company finished talking to me.

I asked if they would call up to my mom's and tell Michelle not to come back down.

I don't know if they did or not, because, when the gas man arrived, she drove back to my place while I stood in the doorway making waving motions to stay away.

She must not have seen them because she kept coming down, parked, got out, and started walking towards the house.

I told her to go back, but she kept coming and asked if anybody had checked things out yet--to which I told her that the gas man hadn't gotten out of his truck yet.

When he got out, he asked who had reported the gas leak, and she told him that she had--and he told her that he didn't smell anything.

At that point, he was skeptical and thought that, perhaps, she had smelled something else, but she insisted that the odor she'd smelled was definitely natural gas (which is, actually, odorless, but an odor gets added to it so that it can be smelled should there be a leak).

I was under the impression that it might be in the pipe (that is, that it could have cracked somewhere due to the way-below-freezing temperatures), but the man--through spraying water different places (which resulted in bubbles just like passing gas in a bathtub or swimming pool does)--found that the leak was right there on the meter, itself, and had been caused by the bolt being very loose.  He was shocked at just how loose it was.

He decided that he'd better go down in the basement to turn off the water heater and furnace while he fixed it.  I shut off the thermostat in the house.

To make a long story short, I was very fortunate.

One of the people installing it back on November 12 must have gotten distracted and hadn't tightened it securely enough.

This meant that there had been a gas leak going on for over two months!

Michelle told me that it was a wonder that something hadn't blown up during that time saying that the gas seemed to be lying close to the ground, and who could tell how far it had spread.

Not only had I been in danger of dying in a house explosion but, also, my mom and other neighbors!

In this kind of climate, she said that the explosion might have even affected places as far away as Mennard's, which, as the crow flies, isn't even a mile away.

She said that people need to make themselves familiar with the odor of a gas leak--and that anybody installing a meter and otherwise working with gas needs to be sure that all parts of the meter and related pipes need to be secured.

In short, this was a disaster waiting to happen, and I had been blissfully unaware of it!

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Snake Charmer Who Makes It Rain
And Colors The World With Rainbows!

Today, I finished writing a piece about a very special friend (pictured below) named Stuart V. Goldberg.  If more people were like him, the world would be amazingly-better!

When you read what I've written, you'll see that Stuart has a wonderful and unique way of viewing life.  He sets a standard!

Be watching for his name to show up more and more in the time to come, as he's a guy who's really going places and richly deserves to!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Hey, Facebook!!! What In Blue Blazes Are You Smoking!?!

Originally, I was going to continue what I'd started in this blog-entry, but I'm going to have to take a raincheck on that in order to rant about Facebook instead.

Now, a lot of strange things have been happening lately.

For instance, earthquakes are commonplace in California, but they're more rare in Indiana.  However, one recently occurred here--and it didn't even occur in one of the places one might happen in The Hoosier State on one of those rare occasions when they do take place.

On the night when 2010 left and 2011 made its grand entrance, it was not only pouring down rain in my neck of the woods (Anderson, Indiana) but there was, also, lightning and thunder.  While this might not be outside the box in some place like Biloxi, Mississippi or New Orleans, Louisiana at this time of year, it's pretty unusual for around here!

Then, a few days into 2011, there were several instances of fish, birds, and other critters dying by the scores, hundreds, and thousands.  According to scientists, this is actually a common occurrence, and the only thing making it seem so uncommon was that people were around to witness this and were reporting it over the Internet, so this information was starting to go more viral than Susan Boyle's debut on Great Britain's Got Talent!

A Google mapping of this would, later, show that what had happened wasn't so widespread as one might imagine.  In fact, it had happened in a barely-a-handful of other countries; had happened the most here in the USA, and hadn't even happened all that many places here.

Even so, I still think that this happening might have been God trying to get our attention--something about which I'll be including thoughts in my upcoming book.

Back to strange happenings. . .I think I finally might have gotten it fixed (as I actually was able to enjoy watching several hours of TV without this nonsense starting up again), but something really fishy has been going on with my TV as well.

It would begin making this static sound accompanied by pulsating, wide belts of horizontal snow on the screen.  It would have this kind of disco beat to it at first (thump-thump-thump-thump-thump-thump-thump. . .).  I guess the way to describe it would be sort of like a cross between somebody dribbling a basketball and the steady drumbeat that accompanied Donna Summer singing Love To Love You, Baby!

Then, as time went on, the static sound was like what might result if somebody were keeping time on a drum to the speech pattern of Porky Pig serving as an auctioneer.

When it got to this point, the screen was really going wild--alive with flashing snow lines with blue screens thrown in here and there for good measure.

Then, it would begin to gradually settle down again and be normal--at least, for a few minutes.

I think that the interference had been caused by being hooked up to a non-working VCR.  When I unplugged the VCR, there was no TV reception.  When I had it turned on, we had this mess.

It was in a place where I couldn't find how to turn it off.

Well!  I think I've managed to locate the on/off button (by moving a small piece of furniture), though the light isn't that great in that area to where I can see for sure.

All I know is that I haven't heard that pulsating sound again lately and, as I said before, was able to watch several hours of TV.  Actually, I wasn't watching the entire time.  I started out watching Martha Stewart around the noon hour.  

During this time, I located what I believe was the on/off button for the useless-as-an-appendix VCR that I believe got hooked up during the time when my TV got returned from Brauchla Television & Appliance after getting repaired.  

Of course, I didn't begin to notice the problem until I had Bud to move my TV a couple of days before New Year's Eve.  In fact, at that time, it only did a few strobes after it had been moved and, then, behaved itself.

This problem only began to take place in a major way about a week ago.  I called Comcast (our cable service), and they tried to fix it remotely.  The fixing "stuck" for a short time before it started up again. 

The next step would be to, eventually, make an appointment to have a person from Comcast to come out to the house and try to figure things out, but this hasn't been the ideal time for doing something like this, so I tried different things with it to try to get it to behave itself--and I think that I finally hit on one.

The last report is that I was watching Martha Stewart during the noon hour and dozed off when I closed my eyes during a commercial.  I woke up to find that I was probably fifteen minutes into Little House On The Prairie (meaning that it was around four-fifteen at the time) and found myself able to watch it without that nonsense.

I'm not sure if any of that went on while I was asleep, but I doubt it, as it would have, likely, eventually woke me up.

Therefore, I think it's fixed.  Certainly hope so!

Now, I wish I could say the same thing for FACEBOOK!

Elizabeth Barrett Browning once wrote a poem to her husband and fellow poet, Robert, that begins:

"How do I love thee?  Let me count the ways..."

I could begin a poem about Facebook that might be a parody of the above in how it would be something like this:

"How has Facebook taken on a certain characteristic of a hemorrhoid, cattle prod, and/or rectal thermometer?  Let me list some of many, many ways..."

First off, I can see problems when I play Bubble Popp in how this game will grind to a halt and stick there for several seconds before starting up again.  The bubble cannon goes into a kind of herky-jerky mode to where it becomes very difficult to aim it where I want it to go to fire it.

Next:  Is it just me or are other people getting this message about a stopped script or something like that?  When that sign pops up, it's hard to even close the page.

Furthermore:  I no longer have live messaging turned on, as it's not working part of the time either.  I was trying to chat with somebody one time, and all that was showing up was a white screen when conversation came from my direction and hit-and-miss conversation coming from the friend's side.

On a related subject:  If a group of chatters numbering more than two was into a conversation--and, especially, when they were putting up the new emoticons--that blasted stopped script sign would come up again and block everything that I was trying to do.

Here's another real treat:  

I decide to Like some post, so I click on the corresponding Like link.  Sometimes, it does things normally.  Many times, however, it will result in a sign popping up asking me if I were sure that I wanted to leave the page and instructing me to click the Cancel button if I wanted to remain on the page.  

When I opt to Cancel, I will find myself in the same position of not being able to Like the post, so I'll try to Like it again--and get the same blasted sign.  So, I will click on the button that will take me to another page.  One might think that this would result in a refreshed page where my Like would have taken.


Not even close!

Instead, I'm taken to a white page--either that, or else it's a picture of a polar bear in a blizzard eating vanilla ice cream from a white bowl.

Somehow, I suspect that it's no ice-cream-eating polar bear in a blizzard but, instead, just a stupid, garden variety white page.

The same goes when it comes to leaving comments.

I would love to get back to where I Like something with a single click and comment on something with not much more effort than that.

Instead, I end up going through somewhere between three and six steps (sometimes, more) to accomplish this.

Half the time, it's a bear to even comment and/or share a link on my very own wall.

My daily fortune cookie landed on my wall, and I went to read my fortune.  

It took me a couple of tries to get my cookie to open up due to being asked if I were sure that I wanted to leave the page.  Who said anything about leaving!?!

When it opened, it had a message on it that told me that I read my daily fortune cookie.  Thought at first that the fortune cookie company was being clever or something.  Then, I noticed that this same message is included daily.

What I was actually looking at was a fortune cookie without a fortune.

One time, it opened up with one word:  "Array!!!"

Now THAT makes a lot of sense. . .NOT!  What kind of a fortune is THAT, anyway!?!

Doesn't it just bug the dickens out of you to write a clever and/or important comment only to have it not only not post but, also, get "eaten" so that you can't try again?

I think that all of these problems can be traced back to the last time when Facebook decided to "improve" itself.

Some of the problems go back even farther than that to one or two times before that when Facebook decided to "improve" itself.

This is all I have to say for now except to say that I have a very important message for those in charge of Facebook:

"Please don't decide to improve Facebook anymore until you're absolutely certain that improving Facebook will actually improve Facebook!"

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Am I Just Imagining Things? or Is It Actually Kinda Snowy Outside?

When Pinky and Bud came out on Sunday evening to pick up our garbage (put out for the garbage collector who comes early on Monday morning); do some light shopping for us (unable to do any other kind, as weather had made us unable to get out to take money out of the bank, so we had limited funds with which to shop); salt down the walkway leading out to my mom's car (which I'm now using until I can afford to get my minivan both serviced and updated on its license) so that I could get out to run errands on Monday (including going to the bank to get out some money along with re-arranging the amounts of money in my two accounts, which I used to be able to do over the phone but unable to do until I can bring it up to date); and bringing all of the mail down to me, I found a very pleasant surprise in the form of a check made out to my mom from REMC (utilities we use in Cunot--though we've had them turned off for a year, give or take, in order to save money).  It was in the very welcome amount of $277.

I told her about the check and that we could see if we'd be able to cash it at her bank the next day so that I could leave everything in my account to pay bills.  Repairs on my water softener made in December and billed for later this month would pretty well eat up that amount, but, at least, we had it so that it would be easier to pay this bill.  That is, I wouldn't have to take anything out of my bank accounts--and that was $77 more than I'd planned on taking out of my account, so that was very helpful.

We first went to KeyBank to cash the check.  Everybody is really nice there and came out to take our check and bring us the money.  We then went on to the drive-up service of Star Financial Bank (my bank, which is also a very pleasant place) to re-arrange the money from the last timber checks so that I would have enough in both accounts to do check billing and online billing.  Actually, between the two banks, we worked in a trip to Zinszer Cookies & Bakery to get a cookie of the month apiece.  January's featured cookie contains cranberries, white chocolate chips, and nuts.

The next stop was to PayLess Supermarket at Applewood Centre to pick up the items we needed but couldn't afford on Sunday.  Took everything to my mom's house where it was divided into what was hers and what would be transported to my place later that evening.

We ordered supper from Columbus Avenue Pizza and went to pick it up and take to the campus of Madison Park Church Of God for one of our climate-controlled picnics.  We had our usual personal chicken artichoke pizzas and lemonade, and I added a side salad for myself to that.  I would highly recommend them if you're wanting unique and delicious pizzas.

I'm glad that I grew up (and continue to live) just outside of Anderson, as it's a very wonderful community.  When we go to our regular haunts, we know that we're going to find helpful people providing service with a smile.  This isn't to say that we don't have our people who aren't living as they should, but, overall, the atmosphere is very positive, friendly, and helpful.

Before heading for home, we drove around a little bit more.

Whenever we're out-and-about, it seems as if we always go by Aunt Kate's house at least once.  It was in the same family for over 100 years, and Aunt Kate was the last link to that family to live there.  We had hoped that she would have remained there for many more years, but that wasn't to be.

Now, a brand new family is living there--including kids.  Perhaps, the representation of their family will also last for many decades.

Even though it just doesn't seem the same without Aunt Kate, it's still comforting to go by and see lights coming from the various windows at night and know that the legacy of this simple house and yard goes on.

Somehow, I have the feeling that I'm always going to think of it as Aunt Kate's house.

When we returned home, my mom went with me to take a couple of sacks of groceries in for me, after which we sat in the car and talked.  We looked at the lilac bushes (bare now but will be blooming in three months or so) and remembered how Pinky had helped us to cut some lilacs to go into a vase to welcome Aunt Kate home from the nursing home.  

She had gotten to live in her house again for a little over a month when she was taken to the hospital for what turned out to be a stomach ulcer and got an infection while there.  She ended up passing away on August 13--but not before putting up a good fight to recover.

It turned out to be a good thing that we'd gotten so many errands run, as I don't know when we'll be venturing out again.

Sometime Tuesday morning, it began to snow. . .and snow. . .and snow. . . and snow.  Although it seemed to be a good covering of it, I didn't realize just how significant of a snowfall it actually was until my mom told me that they were doing things like closing the schools early and other places as well.

Anyway, there's now this feeling of having days on end where we're not going to be able to get out--which means that I shouldn't be distracted from accomplishing a lot of things around here, including online projects and housework.  Not to mention getting lots of rest.  It's kinda like being on a vacation--albeit a working vacation at times (but I enjoy my work).

Some sad notes to report at this time are that a very special friend went through having his dad to pass away over the weekend, and I also found out that another friend has been told that his grandma is dying.

At least, my friends' dad and grandma were way up there in years (though that hasn't made it any easier for the ones left behind) instead of being nine years old like Christina-Taylor Green.

When I read this (an article talking about dreams of a future that can now only be speculated on--as in what could have been--due to a senseless shooting), a lot of songs played through my head.  They were songs that represented what had been, what could have been, and what it was like to have such joy in your life for such a short time.  Even the last song telling about a broken relationship has a haunting refrain that says it all re: the family and friends who were so blessed to know this little angel for a little bit over nine years.

This is my song list dedicated to Christina-Taylor Green, forever nine years old...

It's now Wednesday morning.  Yesterday, I wrote something about the shooter.  I don't yet know if it's true or not, but I suspect that, at some time in his life, he had been given Ritalin (or something similar) to help to "manage" him at school.

Even if this weren't the case with him, I DO know that this drug is nothing but trouble and never should have been given to children (or anybody else) in the first place.  There is something very much wrong with the picture when kids line up at the office of the school nurse to receive their daily doses of Ritalin just like my classmates and I used to line up in the school cafeteria each mid-morning to receive our little cartons of milk.

Don't even get me started on this one!!!

Here is something I wrote about him--and some of the problems in general our 21st Century society is having when it comes to getting along with others. 

 (to be continued...)


Monday, January 3, 2011

First Week Of 2011

Saturday was the first full day of 2011.  My mom and I experienced its arrival while parked in a beautiful spot listening to WFMS out of Indianapolis.  The weather was unusual for January 1 in Indiana.  Not only was it raining, but there was also occasional lightning and thunder.  It had gotten up to at least 60 degrees on the last day of the old year and wasn't much cooler at midnight, even though it would cool down later.  We were out-and-about until after three in the morning.  Due to all of the snow and ice, December 31 was the first day out of the house for me in weeks, and my mom hadn't been out that much, either.  Later, we watched The Parade Of Roses.  As usual, that was amazing, beautiful, cute, and empowering.  I drifted in and out of sleep while watching several wonderful Christmas movies on The Hallmark Channel.  Occasionally, I got online.  All in all, a very peaceful and mellow day.

Sunday also proved to be restful and mellow.  I continued to mostly stay in bed watching The Hallmark Channel with occasional trips in to get online.  One thing I've started doing here in 2011 is to take another cover-to-cover journey through The Bible.  This time around, I'm using a version called The Message.  Later in the evening, Pinky & Bud came out to help us with some shopping.  They also brought me a meal from Culver's (prime rib and mushroom melt sandwich served on sourdough toast and some chili cheese fries).  It's a good thing that I really like The Hallmark Channel, as it's the only choice I'll have until I'm able to relocate the remote control (which got buried under some clutter when Bud was out a few days ago to rearrange my living room (which is also serving as my bedroom),

Monday was the first non-holiday day of 2011--though for at least one place it was still a holiday:  Anderson City Utilities.  After getting money from Key Bank to put into my Star Financial Bank account, I went there to pay off a considerably-overdue bill (actually, one for each house) but found the drive-up window to be closed.  Fortunately, I had stamps with me, so I simply dropped both bills in the mail.  The latter I did later when I had my mom along, and we enjoyed a picnic lunch while parked at Madison Park Church Of God.  We spent the day getting some errands run and just being out on this beautiful day.  We'll probably stay in tomorrow to rest unless there's a reason to go out before Wednesday.  We're hoping to get some money from timber cut on the family homestead in Cunot.  The only thing we got in the mail today was one of these health insurance letters that tells us that it isn't a bill but, instead, just keeping count of what's paid for by whom AND a certain letter that would come under the heading of nuisance mail.  I'll say nothing more except to say that we're sick of hearing from this person.  He wore out his welcome with us ages ago!  In spite of this, Monday was a very nice day for us, and we were happy to hear that Mark & Barbara had a wonderful celebration of their 32nd wedding anniversary at Red Lobster.  Sadly, Lana (an online friend who is, also, a shirt-tail cousin) started out 2011 with a house fire.  It wasn't at her place but, instead, at her mother's, and her sister and mother suffered smoke inhalation.  They'll be fine, but their home is gone, and, on top of that, they lost several pets in the fire.  Please send prayers their way.

Tuesday was a stay-in-and-take-it-easy day.  Did a lot of sleeping and watching TV along with some getting online and on the phone in order to give my body the rest that it's been needing, as I was having the feeling that I was trying to come down with something--and, perhaps, had already come down with it.  My spirit seems to be far more energetic than my flesh.

Wednesday was a bonus sort of day!  We knew that we would be getting paid again for timber harvested, but we weren't sure just when.  We thought that we'd be lucky to get anything as soon as next week sometime.  What a surprise it was to find two checks in the mail today!  Perhaps, we can manage to get caught up yet!  We celebrated with chow from Zinszer Cookies & Bakery and Columbus Avenue Pizza.

Thursday was to have been a day of getting out to take care of some business matters.  However, it looked kinda dreary and chilly, so I wasn't too enthused about going out into it--which was a good thing, as it soon began to snow.    Monday seems to be the next possible day for getting out.  Ended up getting a lot of rest and, in other ways, taking it easy.

Friday was the last day of the first week of 2011.  While I think that I might be somewhat closer to relocating it, my remote control is still lost in the shuffle of trying to reorganize my home, so I've only been watching The Hallmark Channel--which is a great choice for viewing anyway.  I hadn't even gotten online until mid-morning.  My mom and I haven't been able to work subscribing to the local paper into our budget--that is, we had allowed our subscription to lapse over a year ago and hadn't gotten back into subscribing.  In short, I'd learned about strange mass-deaths of fish, birds, and other critters in various places around the world from a friend IMing me on Facebook.  A Google map put things into perspective several hours later by showing that this really wasn't something that was covering most of the planet but had just happened in a handful of places.  Scientists said that it was actually commonplace for several members of a flock of birds, school of fish, etc. to die within moments of each other.  However, what made this stand out was that it was happening in so many places to so many species at the same time.  I think that God might be trying to get our attention!!!

And so went the first week of 2011.

I wonder what the rest of the year will be like...

Goodbye 2010! -- Hello 2011!

December 31, 2010 arrived...

For weeks, I hadn't left home, due to the snow and ice underfoot that wouldn't get along well with either my right trick-knee or my lymphedema.  However, I was never bored with so much to do indoors and so much beauty to see out my windows.

Still, I knew that the time would be coming when I would have to get out and take care of business, even if that meant having snow and ice removed from the walkway leading out to some car (either my mom's or else Bud's, as my minivan has had the double-whammy of an expired license place and needing work done on it in order to get it running decently, and I could ill afford either one).
As it turned out, it had warmed up to over 60 degrees on the last day of 2010--which meant that it was ideal for the tradition my mom and I have of driving into another year.

We had hoped to have some money in the KeyBank account to transfer into the Star Financial Bank account so that I could be ready to pay bills.  As it turned out, this would have to wait until the following Monday.

For now, 2010 was truly coming to an end with the hope of a better year ahead in 2011.

It had been a challenging past two years, and one sad thing about 2011 was that Aunt Kate didn't make it through 2010, passing away on August 13.

There are people you might hate to let go of when they cross over, but you still feel as if it was the way that it was supposed to be.

Not so with Aunt Kate.

I'm left with the feeling that there were some things that could have been done differently so that she would have been in her own home this holiday season with her candles softly lighting up her enclosed front porch.
Hindsight, however, is 20/20.

We went out in the afternoon to take enough out of the bank to tide us over until we were able to get more the following Monday.  

After we got it, we decided to go across the bridge into North Anderson to eat the December cookie of the month for the last time, but we found Zinszer's to be already closed for the holiday weekend.

We drove on out to Nick's Donuts & Pizza in Edgewood where we ate an old-fashioned donut apiece and split what is sometimes called a bear claw and sometimes called an apple fritter.
We laughed about the first time that we had eaten one at around 4 a.m. while on our way to see Uncle Finley and Aunt Marce who were then living in San Francisco.  I believe that the little diner that served us was in Bishop.

This wasn't where the humor came in but, instead, some things that had happened before and afterwards that I've described in a piece of writing called Motels From Hell.

In time, we had a meal consisting of two individual-sized pizzas (chicken artichoke) and lemonade from Columbus Avenue Pizza.  We ate this picnic in the parking lot of Madison Park Church Of God.

We went home for a few hours, and I tied up some loose ends on the Internet before we started out again.  

We stopped at the Marathon convenience store out on Scatterfield Road to pick up two small picnics--one to be eaten in 2010 right away and the other to be eaten sometime after 2011 arrived.

Off and on, it did everything from sprinkle some to rain.  

By the time that we had parked in a beautiful spot to await the arrival of 2011, we could see lightning in the distance.  

Then, the lightning got closer, and we could occasionally hear the thunder while the rain came down in torrents.

This kind of weather isn't exactly commonplace for New Year's Eve into New Year's Day here in Central Indiana.

We sat and listened to WFMS (country station out of Indianapolis) and heard them announce the arrival of 2011.  

There was no countdown.  

A song just started playing in 2010 and finished playing in 2011, and the DJ wished everybody a happy 2011.

We sat and talked about the year ahead for a little while before breaking out the first picnic of the new year.  We ate the picnic and sat there some more listening to the music and talking about our hopes and dreams for the year ahead.

Then, we drove around some more before going hope, arriving sometime between three and four in the morning.

It was a wonderful way to begin another year...