Archive for January, 2011

New granddaughter, Lila, arrived this week — 6 lbs. 15 oz. – 20 1/2 inches long.  So far she has  dark hair.  Mother and daughter are doing well, although Momma had to have a c-section.  They are home and establishing a new routine.  It’s also amazing that a creature so small, requires so much stuff and so much time.  Dave is home for the next two weeks to help.  He’ll probably have to return to work to rest up!

Tomorrow they’re coming to begin our kitchen remodeling.  Bruce and I spent most of Friday and Saturday packing up the kitchen and setting up a make-shift microwave kitchen in the study/computer room.  The coffee pot and electric kettle are in the master bathroom.  The refrig is the only appliance we’re not replacing as it’s only three years old.  The sink is taking a complete 180 degree turn to the other side of the room and the range is going where the sink is now.  We’ll have all new cabinets with a pantry tower and pull-outs and lazy-susans and new lights and more outlets — all the things I’ve been wanting for a long time.  We just decided it was time to bite the bullet and do it.  It’s like me and my Honda.  Four years ago I finally got the car I’ve always wanted, with all the accessories I wanted.  I’m still very happy every time I drive her.  After we finish this project, I hope I’m equally as happy when I step in there.  It will get good gas mileage too — this one is all electric!

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Help or Not

Although I now volunteer a half a day a week at the Catholic Social  Services, it is a job nonetheless. We help people by providing a food bank, access to a thrift shop, help with utility bills, court ordered evictions, steel-toed work boots, bus tickets, and even some prescriptions.  Poor people need a variety of help.  It is a challenge, but a worthwhile one.  My job is to interview people and determine what they need and if we can help.  I use most of the skills I developed as a mother, a teacher, and even as an older lady who has been down the road and around the block.

A few weeks ago I came home to tell Bruce, “I haven’t been lied to so much since I left teaching.”  Most of the people I saw that day were not truthful.  Their stories just didn’t add up.  Even the chronically poor, don’t need everything, everyday.  I had to turn down a lady saying she again needed to visit the food bank when she had been there two weeks before and had just received a large amount in food stamps.  I didn’t like to do that, as we try to err on the side of compassion.  But a lie is a lie — a scam is  scam.   Most likely she was selling her food stamps for cash and then coming to us to feed her family.  We shouldn’t enable such activities.  I told Sister Janet, who understood and nodded in agreement.

Last week amongst the ones I interviewed we were able to help two particular people.  They were not the perpetual poor.  They were regular folks who were just down on their luck.  Both, for one reason or another, had been out of work, and fallen behind in their utility bills.  It’s winter, even in the South, with a really frigid spell upon us.  No power, no heat.  Can’t cook, can’t have hot water.  That’s tough.

There are more people than we’d like to admit are one paycheck away from eviction.  That really hit home when a few months ago I realized a lady I was interviewing lived only a few blocks away.  She, literally, was my neighbor.  I know we hear about the plight of those in other countries and we respond generously, however, there are other ones who need our help too, and they live just down the street.

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A Week of Sundays

Yes, I know the old expression is a “month of Sundays” but the holidays aren’t that long. Christmas Day seemed like a Sunday,  followed by an actual Sunday and the same with New Year’s Day plus a regular Sunday.  Thank heavens tomorrow is a real Monday.  Now we can get back to a normal routine where I don’t have to check the calendar to determine the day of the week.  The Christmas decorations are coming down Monday too.  After all, the stores already have the Valentine’s Day stuff out.  Boy, we wouldn’t want to miss a chance to miss a merchandising opportunity, would we?

At least this year more people said, “Merry Christmas” rather than the politically correct “Happy Holidays”.   Two years ago, I asked someone who I knew was not Christian, if they celebrated Christmas.  I got a surprised, slightly peeved, “Yes.”  I forget about the secular version.  To me, it’s still about the birth of Christ.

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