Monday, June 30, 2008

A Fleeting thing?

Slow down and enjoy life. It's not only the scenery you miss by going to fast-you also miss the sense of where you are going and why.  Eddie Cantor (1892-1964)   

Also known as stop and smell the roses.

Weekends, for all of us whose work week is Monday through Friday, are a glorious thing. I look forward to those two days when I can just do whatever I please. Sometimes that includes more work, like mowing the lawn or cleaning the house, which I always resent because I just want to play on the weekends.  

Friday came and I worked hard all day and I really wasn't feeling my best(female issues) so I wasn't up for much fun. J made us some vegetable soup and we watched a movie.  Just what was needed for Friday night after a long week.

Saturday found me again on the sofa watching movies and lazing about with all the animals while J and R did some errands and spent some sister time together.  We all planned to head to the movie theater to see WALL E at 5:00pm.   I always love to go the movies.  It is one of my favorite things to do in life.   I used to think it was stupid and wasteful to spend money on popcorn, but I now find it and essential part of the fun in movie going.  What a splendid time we had.  After the movie J and I went home and I cooked some supper and we played some games, Yahtzee and  Boggle and yes indeed we watched another movie!  A friend D decided he needed to visit us and came over to watch the movie with us.

By Sunday, I was feeling much better physically.  After church we came home, ate some eggs and got to work doing some of the sorting and sifting through years of stuff that have been accumulating in our spare room.  We also watched the final game of Eurocup 2008 and were ecstatic to see Spain take home the prize.  Then a late afternoon visit to the pool for a few laps (20 to be exact), then back home for supper, games and you guessed it, a movie!

All in all it was a lovely weekend.

Friday, June 27, 2008


"Dreaming permits each and every one of us to be quietly and safely  insane every night of our lives"  William Dement 1959

I am not so sure about the quietly part, but this little quotation says it pretty well for me.  I have been having scary dreams, night terrors really, starting when I was about 16 years old , or at least that is when I remember them. They are anything but quiet.  I have been known to scream as if someone is murdering me!  My poor mother used to jump out of bed and run into the room to see if someone had entered my room and was hurting me.  

Once she found me under the bed and I grabbed her arm and told her to get down they were going to get her.  Who they were is a mystery,  murderers, aliens, who knows.  Another time when I was in college, I was on a winter rock climbing, camping trip with a group of people.  I forgot to warn them that sometimes I scream in my sleep.  Well the leader of the group, a professor, who I just happened to have had a huge crush on, (don't worry he was single  and very cute) ended up sitting on me and when I woke , he told me he thought he was going to have to wrestle a bear, the way I had screamed.  Naturally, it scared the bejeebers out of all the campers.  You see I have no control over it and I can't even associate any time or behavior that brings them on.

Last night I had a very violent dream.  It was so frightening.  At first I was walking serenely on a beach with cool sand and water lapping at my feet.  Then  I was in a house,  I can picture the bedroom exactly,  and not a house I have ever dreamed of before.  I was being controlled by a very violent man and his gang.  It seems I had a husband who was disposed of in the bed  and then taken away.  I was made to do violent things and my children where used as bait to be sure I kept to the plan that this gang of men had  for me.  I was finally allowed to go to bed,  the same bed that the dead husband had been in and I laid down and accidently turned on the television by laying on the remote.  That was a mistake, as I wasn't allowed to watch television. Just before I woke up, I was laying there in terror waiting for the man who was apparently going to sleep in my bed with me, and he was just lurking in the hall and about to enter my room!   

Well I was so totally freaked out, it took some time for me to realize that it was only a dream, one I had no control over and that I was okay.  I don't know if I ever screamed, for if no one wakes me up, I don't always know that I screamed.  Sometimes I wake my self up and my throat is scratchy so I know that I let out a loud one!   My girl R would always come in and wake me up and see if I was okay.  What a lovely child, and I hope she doesn't have long lasting effects from having to come to the aid of her neurotic screaming mom.  The other daughter, J, who is living at home for the summer, doesn't always wake up when I scream and rarely comes to check on me, because she knows what it is when it does wake her up.  So if I screamed last night, only the night knows!

I have been having weird and frightening dreams for about a month now.  More vivid than usual.  It could be a hormonal thing I guess, as my monthly visitor has now come twice this month, which is hardly fair, as I should be done with all that really, but it seems that my body is taking it's sweet time about the whole menopause thing.

It is hard to work all day after a frightening dream.  Wondering what it all meant and hoping to get a good nights sleep the next night.  But I will carry on and get through the day,  at least it is Friday!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Tree Surprise

"As the poet said 'Only God can make a tree'...probably because it is so hard to figure out how to get the bark on."  Woody Allen  

Yesterday the winds began to blow.  A storm was blowing in. It was a very short storm, a little wind, a little rain, maybe one bolt of lightning.  I was checking on the Cardinal baseball game after watching the Eurocup soccer match between Czech Republic and Turkey.  USA was then playing Barbados in a World Cup qualifying match.  While checking on the score for the Cardinal game the reports were telling about an injury to Molina,  my favorite catcher!  Then my girl J yells from the bedroom,  "Mom you better come here"  Well I wanted to hear the report of the injury,  then she yells again.  So I said I  will be right there,  she came to the family room and said "You really need to come now"

Well she said that while she was showering she heard and felt a thump.  I had heard the thump but thought it was thunder.  She says,"Look out my window"  There in full view were tree limbs! Now there is not a tree directly in front of her window,  further out in the yard yes, but that close, not normally a tree!

The neighbors tree had split in two and half had fallen on the corner of my house!   I went out in the rain to survey the damage.  Then I knocked on the neighbors door to tell them that the tree split and fell on my house.  

Now the house next door is a duplex.  The neighbor on the one side is the sister of the property owner.  The tree was in the other persons yard.  The tree was rotten.  She says to me "That tree has been getting worse each year".   One wonders why if you know a tree is rotten, and being a property owner,  you would leave it to get worse and worse, until it falls on your neighbor's house?

Well the property owner was out of town, but his property manager came to survey the damage. He called the tree service man,  who came and actually took the part of the tree that was on my roof  down. Now it was a Sunday at 6:30pm.  I thought that was a pretty good deal.  
There is some damage to the shingles on the roof and some damage to the gutter.  

Now the long process of calling insurance. I am not sure how this all works.  I can't imagine that I have to use my homeowners insurance to cover the repairs,  but I am calling him none the less. Maybe he haggles it out with the other person's insurance company.  This is truly a first for me!

So you never know what you are going to get on a windy day, with a tiny little storm!  It made me think of how awful if must be for all the tornado and flood victims who loose everything.  It is a strange feeling to see a tree on your house.  I hope I never have to deal with what the tornado and flood victims deal with.

I thanked God that only a little damage occurred.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Enduring Summer

"Enjoy when you can endure when you must." Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

So summertime in Illinois brings with it two things I simply have to endure.
The first and most depressing thing about summer for me is mowing the lawn.  I don't like the lawn, I don't like the grass.  If I could afford to landscape my entire yard, I would get rid of all the grass, put in premium mulch and bunches of beautiful bushes, flowering and non flowering. I would put in a shaded gazebo sort of thing with a swing and tables and maybe a small pond with a little waterfall near the gazebo.  So I could sit and swing, sip  iced tea, read a good book and listen to the sound of the water.

Oh I must stop dreaming! It is just that I finally got around to mowing last night and the grass was high, I felt buggy and sweaty and sneezy. So I got to thinking about the things I don't like about summer.  I really am a fall/winter person you see.   

The second thing I don't like about summertime in Illinois is the humidity.  Feeling sticky as you exit a cool shower just isn't fun.  Then when you eventually turn on the air conditioning because you just can't stand it anymore, and you get out of the shower and get all dressed up to go out and have some fun and as soon as you step out the door you feel sticky and sweaty.   Ugh! Not to mention that my hair gets very big in the humidity!  It is not easy to control.

Then thirdly there are the bugs!  Definitely not a bug person.  I get all hyper around grasshoppers, mosquitos bring diseases and flys, well they are just gross.

So I plan to endure the mowing  and the humidity and spend as much time at the pool as possible.

I do like the long nights and the days of sunshine. Those parts I will enjoy.

I am holding out for as long as I can with the air conditioning at home.  Not happy about paying big energy bill and in fact using all that energy bothers me.  So I will hop over to the library and sit and read and sip coffee if I feel the urge to be cool, that is when I am not at the pool!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Anything but Ordinary

"A man can stand anything except a succession of ordinary days." Johannes Wolfgang Von Goethe

Someone may have noticed that I have been absent for a while.  Frankly, I have been bored. Bored with everything.  I have been working like a working dog,(I am remembering a truly delightful bit on Seasame Street a very long time ago that had a working dog and a catchy tune, but I digress, and I am starting to write like Faulkner) I have been totally in the bottom of the barrel financially, and have not had anything in the way of fun things to do come my way and haven't even been interested in a book ( until just the other day).

I should note that I have been happy just to sit and watch a movie with my daughter in the evenings after working a long day.

Last evening the boredom lifted!  We( my youngest) and I finally decided to spend the money ( and in this case it was her money we spent!) and renewed our membership to Windsor Swim Club!  We immediately went home, put on our suits and walked to the pool.  At around 5:00pm the majority of the teens go home and the pool has much more room to swim laps. We swam and swam and then lazed by the pool in comfy loungers and read until we dried off.  It was so totally relaxing, laying there looking up at a blue sky with puffy white clouds and the sun descending on the western horizon.   I lay there basking in the sun reading my AARP magazine (that is too funny, but there was a good article about writing memoirs and an interview with Martin Sheen, whose real name is Ramon Gerard Estevez!   

After the swim, I went home showered, cooked supper, watched a movie with J and then finished my novel, that I almost couldn't put down while reading it. It was a fun, full of fluff, entertaining novel set in Dublin.

So I hope the boredom train has left the station for a while.   I was bored with being bored!

Friday, June 6, 2008


The weather is taking a turn, for the better or the worse, is certainly a personal idea.

You see I am an early spring/fall/winter person.  The best thing I like about summer in Illinois is going to the pool.  I like cool crisp air. In Illinois it goes from spring very quickly into hot humid summer.  I don't like to run the air conditioning, and I don't like very hot and humid weather were I feel sticky all the time, even as I step out of the shower!

I have two favorite things about summer.  Firstly, I enjoy the long days. On weekends, I call them the long lazy days.  I don't feel the need to do anything in a hurry.  Secondly, I love to swim and then feel the warmth of the sun as I lay with a good book or magazine letting the sun dry my body.

This year I am very disappointed.  The Urbana Park district has decided to wait until June 7 to open the public pool.  The very worst of it is they are closing the pool daily at 5:00pm.  Now for those of us that have to work, there just isn't much time to enjoy the pool.  I am sorely disappointed. I usually don't even get to the pool until around 4:30-5:00pm.

When I first came to this town, we bought a membership to Windsor Pool, a private pool club. My girls swam for the Windsor team.  We had lots of fun.  The pool is wonderful and we could walk to it. When the divorce happened, I struggled to maintain the membership.  The girls were still swimming for the team,  but last year we made the switch to the public pool.  We have to drive to that one and it is much more crowded, but we still enjoyed it.  

Now we are in a real conundrum.  It is costly to drive anywhere these days, the public pool is not really an option since they have cut out the opportunity for working people to use the facility and the private pool is costly for membership, but we can walk to it and it is open until 8:00pm. So I am trying to figure out how I can squeeze a membership for the family out of my meager budget for the private pool. The people of Urbana voted down a property tax increase for the Park district. Perhaps many of us feel like are real estate taxes are rising at a rate that we may all be selling our homes soon.  Wouldn't it be nice if the people in charge would look at where the existing money is going  and maybe reallocate some funds so all of us taxpayers could enjoy the public pool this summer.  

The government keeps telling us we are not in a recession,  but I seem to be struggling more to make ends meet as single income single mom. I won't be air conditioning the home until I absolutely have to because of course the power companies raise rates during the winter and the summer when you need to use the services.

Perhaps I will just spend more time in the garden and at the library this summer, instead of the pool.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

"Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect." Ralph Waldo Emerson

 Note the image,  this is how my car almost looked this morning!  Just before the alarm was about to wake me with the wonderful voices from NPR, thunder began to rumble, lightning lit up the sky and then the rain began to fall.  I say fall, but it was more like the sky opened up and dumped buckets in my neighborhood.  I like a good thunderstorm, and I would have preferred to stay in bed and just enjoy it, but excellent employee that I am, I hauled my self out of bed and got dressed.  

I fed the cats, brought in the milk, fixed my lunch,  fed the dogs and prepared to let them out.  Uma, the sweetest beagle/lab mix ever looked up at me with those soulful big brown eyes that seemed to say,  I have to go, but are you nuts?  She bravely went out the door and came back in as quickly as possible,  no chasing and barking at squirrels this morning.   

I fed the fish and grabbed my lunch, cell phone, glasses and wallet and prepared to brave the weather.  I backed out of the driveway and approached the 4 way stop.  Now I could tell how deep the water was in the next block,  you see I was silly enough a couple of years ago to think it was not that deep, entered it and promptly got stuck right in the middle.  The car died and would not start until the water receded and the engine dried out.

So I very cleverly turned left to go around the block.  Things were going well until I say a man in a yellow rain slicker with a long stick in his hand.  He hailed me and I rolled down the window just far enough to talk to him.  He said, " You'd better slow down ( now I was only driving about 25mph anyway) because it is really deep."  Aha! another deceptively deep bit of water hiding in the bend in the road.  I told him I had not been able to get down my street and perhaps I should turn around and try the next road over.  He agreed, and went back to prodding the leaves and debris away from the sewer openings. I was beginning to think I would not be able to get out of my neighborhood this morning with out a rowboat!

Well the next road over was clear!  I felt very clever indeed.   I drove carefully, looking for deep pockets of water on the road. I got in the left lane on Florida Ave., because you see I know where the water pools there.  Okay, so there wasn't any water in the right lane today, usually it is a lake when the rain comes down like it did this morning.   I was feeling very clever! I went about my usual route and on the last left turn, I was dumbstruck.  There I was caught on a street with no way out, one half block from my building, and the water was deep, very deep.

I was quite alarmed, having been stranded in a flash flood before, I was left with no choice, I slowed down entered the pool, prayed to get through.  I approached the 4 way stop, and didn't! I was afraid to.  I made the left and pulled into my parking spot, feeling very thankful that I had made it through.

Perhaps the next time I feel trapped in the house by the fear of flash floods,  I should just stay home and enjoy the storm.  Oh and we have a tornado watch for today.  What a way to start the day!