Et tu…?

Perhaps the most famous three words uttered in literature,
“Et tu, Brute?” (Even you, Brutus?)
this expression has come down in history to mean the ultimate betrayal by one’s closest friend.
This scene, in which the conspirators in the Senate assassinate Caesar,
is one of the most dramatic moments on the Shakespearean stage.
The audience has just witnessed the arrogance and hubris of a ruler
who has sought, within a republic, to become a monarch, comparing himself to the gods.
Brutus, a friend of Caesar and yet a man who loves Rome
(and freedom) more, has joined the conspirators in the assassination,
a betrayal which is captured by the three words above in this famous Shakespeare quote.

Julius Caesar (III, i, 77)
enotes.com


(an odd guest / Julie Cook / 2019)

There has been a betrayal…as in an Et tu Brute sort of betrayal…but more about that in a bit…
as our story will twist us back to that moment of utter treachery shortly.

Saturday afternoon, in between laundry loads, I was walking by the kitchen’s backdoor
and instinctively cast a sideways glance out the door…
the door that leads into the garage.

Remember I’ve been gone for a week working at the main Woobooville in Atlanta.
My husband remained behind until late Friday afternoon…
just long enough for a crime to be committed.

Here is an image of a clue…breadcrumbs to a crime scene if you will…
and yes those breadcrumbs look very much like sawdust…hummmmm…

The plot thickens.

But back to Saturday and the backdoor…

“Why is there a pigeon sitting in the garage?” I holler out to my husband who is
perched in his new recliner in the den.

New recliners tend to make husbands want to perch.

He hollers back from the den, “We don’t have pigeons, it’s a dove.”
This coming from someone who has not even looked out the door to said bird of which I speak.

Well, you might want to come look at this dove that is a pigeon” I counter.

To my husband’s credit, we are more rural dwellers rather than city folks…
rural folks who have doves and not city slicker pigeons.

Sure enough, my husband meanders into the kitchen, only to see a dove/ pigeon sitting
in the garage.

“Hummmm” he muses…“that is a pigeon”

“Really?!” I sardonically reply.

We both then wonder aloud as to what has brought a pigeon to our neck of the woods…
rather make that pasture.

“I bet it’s the trees” I sharply snarl.

“I don’t see how the trees have anything to do with a pigeon being in the garage” he bristles back.

Now our plot thickens even more…

You may recall the horrific tree debacle of October 2014.

I wrote a post about it.
I cried over it.
I bemoaned over it.
I mourned over it.

And I’ll admit, I eventually got over it.

Our house was once flanked by two majestic and stately oaks.

We live pretty much smack dab in the middle of what was once a pasture.
There are a few odd trees and a smattering of blasted sweet gums that dot the property.
Not my idea of wonderful trees…albeit for those two oaks.

The oaks began losing their leaves one summer.
Like in losing copious amounts of leaves.
Leaves were everywhere and it was driving my husband crazy because it was the middle
of summer and we were dealing with leaves like it was the end of Fall.

A year passed with a threat…“if those trees do that next year, they’re gone!”

The trees were sick but I didn’t know what to do.
No arborists out in our neck of the woods…uh, pasture.

But my husband knew what to do.

Cut them down.

For you see that seems to be my husband’s answer to everything.
It’s an “Off with their heads” mentality.

The bushes are out of whack, get rid of them.
Something is causing you a problem?
Let it go…as in literally let it go.
As he is a menace with a chainsaw.

The year passed and the trees lost more leaves even faster…
And then the trees were cut.
Afterward it did appear as if they were sickly and most likely would, in time,
probably have fallen.
Possibly falling toward the house.

Plus he constantly groused over the gutters and the mildew on that side of the house
always having to be cleaned…as in it was all the tree’s fault.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I like trees.
I didn’t want to admit that keeping the trees was a pain and a risk.

Fast foward to now.

We have a bank alongside the driveway that has—rather make that had–
two River Birch trees sitting at the top of the slope.

Two large, airy trees that have been home to a myriad of birdhouses, feeders, and nests
all while casting a lovely amount of shade in the summer months.

However, for those of you who do not know River Birches…
these trees need to be by rivers and not the latest greatest landscape answer.

These trees are fast growing trees and they are always shedding something
all four seasons…plus the least little storm, and snap goes their nimble thin branches…
littering the yard and driveway…not to mention clogging the gutters.

But for 20 years I’ve watched what came to me as tiny saplings grow into giants.
Hence why they are often thrown into landscaping—they grow fast and fill in the
blanks quickly.
Only to become monsters in more ways than one.

We use to have three of these trees but my husband had one cut down a few years back
that was precariously close to the house.
It didn’t start out precarious—but the rapidity of growth made it precarious.

Off with its head.
And it was gone.

Next, he threatened to whack down the remaining two.

Only to be countered with my begging and imploring wails of
NOthey are home to my birds.
They offer delightful summer shade…

So enter this past week.
I was conveniently out of town.
The plot was now hatched.

When the cat is away the mouse opts to cause havoc.

Well, I suppose this is where I should confess tell you…that maybe…
just maybe, a while back during the summer,
I might have mentioned to him–
“please, if you must cut them, do it in the winter.”

But I wouldn’t use that in a court of law because I will plead the 5th.

So Thursday evening when my husband called to check in on the Mayor and me,
he made a quick mention that the tree men were coming the next morning, bright and early,
to cut down those trees.

WHAT?! I practically scream into the phone.

“Yep. I told you I was cutting them down and you had told me to do it in the winter…and
well it’s winter”

I never recall such I frantically wail.

But I knew my pleas were futile.
His mind was made up and there would be no compromising or changing his
“off with their heads” mindset.

I then quickly responded rather definitely…“well then, you better go out and
find some other type trees and have them planted and fix that mess pronto,
and I mean it!

I wasn’t even there to see it but I knew there’d be a mess.

And sure enough, I braced myself for what would greet me when I pulled into the driveway Saturday morning.
Or make that, what wouldn’t be there greeting me!

As this is all that remains…well make that two of these is all that remains…

So the moral to this little tree tale you might be asking…

Pigeons will erroneously show up when you cut down trees as they now think they’re
in the city and never…never ever leave a newly retired husband home alone…
especially during the winter…a husband who thinks
he needs to be about some major sort of project particularly when there’s nothing else he
can be doing when it’s dreary and cold.

A landscape guy will be out tomorrow to recommend a more compact type of tree!

Have I not commanded you?
Be strong and courageous.
Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed,
for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:9

topsy turvy while sleeping at the office

When life is uncertain and the world seems topsy-turvy, consider Jesus’s words:
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”

Tim Challies


(The Mayor walking and working / Julie Cook / 2019)

So here I am in Woobooville, complete with the Mayor, working out of the Atlanta office this week.

It seems that one of The Mayor’s main assistants has Jury Duty while the other
main assistant, who lest we forget is pregnant with the Mayor’s soon to be new sheriff in town…
a new sheriff who is expected to arrive at the end of April,
is feeling quite puny and under the weather…

Enter the chief aide…
Moi.
Chief assistant and caregiver.

And so since the house that houses Woobooville has but three small circa 1950 bedrooms—that being
the main assistant’s bedroom, The Mayor’s bedroom and then the guest bedroom
(aka the chief aide’s bedroom)— the anticipation of the new sheriff’s arrival has
now turned things upside down and the entire house topsy turvy.

The guest bedroom has been emptied of what makes a guest bedroom a bedroom…
all of which has now been replaced by brand new baby boy furniture… continuing its transformation…
Thus, there is no longer a guest bedroom that has a big people bed.

Sooooo…what was the formal living room has now been turned into a complete Woobooville office…
Meaning, it is the holding place for all things Mayorial.
The Woobooville office, the walking zebra, the fox stroller, Pepa the Pig scooter and my new
bed…aka sleeper sofa along with all the old “stuff” that came out of the New Sheriff’s new nursery.


(I now sleep in the office)

The den has also been gutted of the old worn out broken furniture as it awaits a few new pieces…

So needless to say, we are upside down in Woobooville…but rest assured, the Mayor has not missed
a beat of her responsibilities…


(the Mayor hard at work in Woobooville / Julie Cook / 2019

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him
who works all things according to the counsel of his will,

Ephesians 1:11

shutdowns and reactions

Human life, then, we may see as the preparing for the life of Heaven.
It means, on the one hand, complete self-conquest.
The soul must conquer the body and bring it into full obedience to God’s law;
and the soul must itself come into full submission to God.
It has, from God’s Church, the truths it needs to know about God and man and its own destiny:
from the same source, it has the law that will govern it in the right use of itself and in the
right relation of love and duty to others.
But, as has been seen, given that man is to live a life above his nature,
he needs those gifts above his nature which we call the Supernatural Life.

Frank Sheed
from A Map of Life: A Simple Study of the Catholic Faith


(The Mayor is busy / Julie Cook / 2019)

You thought this post was going to be all political, didn’t you?

You thought I was going to throw my two cents into the ring, didn’t you?

Well, I will tell you that despite a government shut down, The Mayor is not slowing down.

We traveled over to spend the weekend with the Mayor.

She wasn’t worried about any shutdowns.
See that’s the glory of kids—they don’t much care what the adults are doing just
as long as their little worlds are flowing.

The minute “the flow” stops, that’s when children become slightly unhinged.

Little children are good like that…they stay oblivious to adults acting like
sophomoric idiots while allowing the lives of countless individuals to hang in the balance.

They don’t care who’s a Democrat or who’s a Republican…
they just know that they are center stage and that’s pretty much how life flows…
anything else is minutia.

So despite big announcements, Dreamers, Walls, and shutdowns or a stubborn President and an
idiot Speaker of the House, the Mayor was busy.

Busy learning to eventually walk on her own.
Busy learning how to make sounds become words.
Busy getting really tired after being so busy that she falls asleep mid play…


(The Mayor asleep on her chief aide’s lap in Woobville / Julie Cook / 2019)

So Thursday morning I went to have a yearly mammogram.
Following that, the endodontist called me explaining they’d had a cancellation and
could fit me 4 day’s prior to my regularly scheduled possible root canal evaluation.

Perfect I thought–knock out the physical traumas all in one day.

As much as I hate having such, I’ve had my fair share of root canals and just
went the suck it up option and to go with the flow.

The tooth had reared its ugly head right around Thanksgiving.
The dentist thought maybe just a crown would help as there was more filling than tooth.

We did the crown.

I went two weeks with a temporary just to see if the sensitivity and pain would ease off.
If they did, the crown would be cemented into place.
If not, off to the endodontist I would go.

Well–things seemed to get better.
So cementing the crown it would be.

Until two days later when the tooth revved up again like nothing had ever changed.

The dentist scheduled my trip to the endodontist.

Of which I went to on Thursday, early.

The root canal was a near 2-hour event.
I was leaned back so far I could have been standing on my head.
I thought my poor neck would give way.

When he was finally finished, he scheduled my coming back for a permanent patch.

Well after 5 hours when the novocaine finally wore off, my mouth and tooth hurt but I chocked that
up to shots and trauma.

I took a pain pill.

Well, the pain and throbbing got progressively worse…
so much so that I had to call the endodontist when I was up with The Mayor–
requesting an antibiotic or a pair of pliers….whichever he felt would be best.

He went with the antibiotic.
It should have been the pliers.

As I type this…I am yawning almost uncontrollably…
and spelling everything very wrong…even for me…maybe it’s the Benadryl.

I don’t normally take Benadryl but I thought it could help with the
overtly severe rash and itching…never mind the throbbing tooth.

What?

Rash?
Itching?
Throbbing??

Seems the endodontist called in clindamycin… seems as if I’m allergic to clindamycin.

My torso, back, face, ears, neck all look as if I have visited a nudist beach and fell asleep laying out.
Things look burned that have never seen the sun.
Sandpaper like skin…red and itchy.
Not a pretty mind’s eye picture I know no matter how you look at it…
But I’ve never seen anything like this.

I may have had clindamycin once before…years ago for a sinus infection and I might recall
my arm itching–calling the doctor and having to change up meds…
Looking at my red self, that seems to be coming to my memory now.

I wish I’d quit yawing and would quit typing gibberish.

I text back the endodontist this morning explaining that I did not sleep because my tooth
has not stopped throbbing and I am now a giant walking, red as a berry, rash.
Did I mention a throbbing tooth?

Good thing Don talked me into using Grammarly on my computer…
otherwise, you might think I have been drugged. Thank you Don.

Well, I have actually.

I thought a couple of Benedryl could stop the rash.

I told the doctor if he didn’t squeeze me in tomorrow, I was getting my pliers—I’m still
debating so I’ll let you know…

Now I better go make some tea to wake me up.

At least the Mayor took her aides out to supper last night, even if I couldn’t chew.


(The Mayor at dinner out / Julie Cook / 2019)

I’ll use the pliers on my tooth while using a hammer to knock in a little sense into our
elected children adult officals.

The joys of old school, or how I detest technology

“(I’m not online.)
I don’t have a fax.
I don’t go in for any of that stuff.
The typewriter is as far as I went.”

Walter Kaylin


(an old school Roman “truck” or Ape Piaggio–three wheeled truck, Campo di Fiori/ Rome Italy /Julie Cook 2018)

Yes, you have read correctly… I hate technology.
I think I’ve mentioned that little fact before.

“But aren’t you actually using technology as we speak—or is that ‘as we read’???”
you perceptively ask.

“And so if you hate it so much, then why are you using it?” as you counter your own observation?

I’m with Walter Kaylin in his quote from up above…oh for that simple typewriter.

My poor technologically inept husband needed a new computer, a new laptop.
So that is what I surprised him with for Christmas.

But I knew how it would all play out…and I was right on the money.

The new computer has two new and very different USB ports from that of his old computer.

A conundrum.

He needed a new i-tunes account, separate from me, finally…as all of our stuff has been
basically merged together as if one account–a huge messy mishmash.

A conundrum that we’ve managed to live with for quite some time because due to
the business, it was kind of okay.

Yet when he closed the business, he lost his old e-mail.

A huge conundrum.

And since no business-related emails can be accessed, despite hours spent on the phone with AT&T…
did I mention how he loathes AT&T or how I now concur??—we’ve had a conundrum.

Not only can’t he get into his old email account (thank you AT&T) he can’t even pull up his
deer trail cam images–and that is more of a crisis than a conundrum…

So today would be the day.
I psyched myself up for what I knew to lay ahead.

I’d sit down after I had taken down all of the outdoor Christmas in hopes of beating these
6 inches of rain they keep warning us about…all in order to create a new I-tunes account,
separate our phones and computers, as well as set up a new g-mail, a new I-tunes,
and finally a new computer.

Yet oddly in the process, I managed to lock myself out of my own computer.

WHAT???

I typed, I typed some more, I pondered, I pulled out my phone, I re-set everything I
could think to re-set but sadly it was to no avail.

I considered throwing my laptop over the back deck.
Why not?
It was locked up tighter than Dick’s hatband.

Where are those savvy hackers when you really need one???
Hiding out in some dark room in Siberia I suspect.

I groused, I cursed, I wailed…my husband said “here, take mine”…
“it’s not that simple” I snapped.

For you see I knew this would happen.
It always happens.
Despite my diligence, despite my best-laid plans, I knew what should have been a 1 2 3 sort
of flow would become an entire day’s nightmare.

My son complains that at his work, they keep hiring people my age who don’t really
“get” technology and so he wastes most of his day teaching “old” folks how to do the job
they were hired to do because it was thought they knew how to do it.

I took offense to that until today…I now understand.

I called Apple.

I spoke with one of their “geniuses” who did not speak fluent English.

I take offense to that notion of genius—

How arrogant of Apple to call their techi gurus geniuses…
…as if they are all that and a bag of chips and I am… but a mere moron.

With no help from Apple, I spent 5, count them, 5 hours figuring all of this out…
the sun rose and the sun set…all while I pecked and panicked.

Finally, blessedly, joyously, I managed to get myself unlocked and my husband free and good to go.
Plus I managed to migrate my old computer info to my own new little laptop.
(You need to be proud Phyllis because I am finally finding my way in the dark without you,
Sue or OP!
FYI, that’s a school thing…sorry)

I regrettably feel this same way everytime it’s time for me to get new glasses.

I go for the vision test, they think they have it all figured out, I get the new glasses
and bam, I can’t see a thing.
It takes visit after visit, retesting, refitting until they finally get my eyes and glasses
‘synced.’

And to think, I’m a year over going in for my eye appointment, imagine that…hummmm.

Each year I ponder going “dark” for Lent…meaning cutting myself off from all technology.
If the Queen can cut out all chocolates from her Royal world during the Lenten season,
surely I could go technology free…

Today was just one more step closer to a vote for a true technology blackout!

They don’t have pay phones anymore, do they???

So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us,
either by our spoken word or by our letter.

2 Thessalonians 2:15

is my heart strong enough???

The goodness of God is the highest object of prayer, and it reaches down to our lowest need.
It quickens our soul and gives it life, and makes it grow in grace and virtue.”

St. Julian of Norwich


(The Mayor is all smiles…if only she knew what was coming her way…./Julie Cook / 2018)

Almost two years ago, before my husband sold out his business and before we had
The Mayor in our lives…
we had both already lost our parents, I was retired and our son and daughter-n-law
had moved away.
We knew we didn’t have much that was remaining keeping us here in our current community.
No family to speak of…so selling, downsizing or simply resizing seemed like a
viable thought.

We toyed with the idea of perhaps moving and in turn, started kind of looking around.

I like nature, the woods, the mountains, the ocean, water…
He likes nature, the woods, the mountains, not so much the ocean, but definitely water
as in lakes and streams.

Maybe someplace out west?
Someplace wide, unpopulated and quiet?

Maybe somewhere down in Florida’s panhandle…white sands or better for him, out on the bay?

Maybe up in the mountains of Tennessee or North Carolina?

It doesn’t hurt to look and dream right?

We actually came very close to pulling the trigger a year ago on a place in Florida
but walked away before going too far.

And it was shortly thereafter that we found out that The Mayor would be coming.

Sooooooo our vision changed. We couldn’t be far away.

The idea of The Mayor coming into our lives put a halt to ever being further away
then we are now.

The notion and thought of different, however, remained…particularly as my husband
sold out the business in June.

Maybe we should move closer to The Mayor?

Despite having grown up there, I hate Atlanta…
And my small town husband…well, I think living in the city would kill him or kill
me for having to live with him in said city!

Still, there just wasn’t anything keeping us here…albeit the house we built 20 years ago.

And it’s 5 acres are getting more and more overwhelming…
more than either of us can physically maintain…we have
more than enough bedrooms…let’s just keep looking…right?

So we thought we had found a place in North Georgia, up in the mountains and not much
further from The Mayor than we are now.

We got right close to closing on this latest pipedream of ours when we realized
the impending house was in worse shape than we actually were aware and that getting
it up to speed, to the necessary shape expected before the closing, just wasn’t happening…
and who wants to buy a house in bad shape for a price beyond its shape???

Not us.

So that was our wrinkle this past week, besides drawing the ire of realtors.
But such an investment needs to be worth what you’re paying for—not something you
want to be overpaying for…only to turn around to pay more down the road as an
unending fixer upper…think the classic movie The Money Pit.

We’re too old for that.

Add to all of that… we are both still dealing with the messes our respective father’s
each left us upon each of their deaths.

Besides having almost been house poor, we are currently a bit lawyer poor.

At some point, I will be free to write about these two messes we’ve inherited….or
perhaps I’ll simply write a book from our experiences…
Maybe I could title it…
“When it’s your time to go,
make certain those who remain aren’t left cleaning up after you!”

Sooooo…there we were Wednesday night, eyes glazed over, licking our wounds
when the phone rang.

It was The Mayor.

Well actually it was The Mayor’s father who was facetimeing Moppie and Poppie on
behalf of The Mayor.

Our son says…”Mother move away from the phone, just let daddy look”

Hummmmmm…what’s up with that I wondered???!!

Peeking over my husband’s shoulder, aka Poppie, I see The Mayor rolling about like
the wild rabbit she is…I notice she’s wearing some sort of new little shirt.

I can make out only one word, but it’s a keyword that has me instantly jerking the
phone out of my still clueless husband’s hand as I immediatley holler into the phone…..

OH MY GOD, ARE Y’ALL PREGNANT???????!!!!!!!”

The shirt reading “I may be small but I’m going to be a Big Sister”

WHAT THE HELLO DOLLY?????


(The Mayor is mad to be held still so Moppie can clearly read the shirt)

So yeah…not planned, but The Mayor is about to have an assistant…

The assistant, James Gregory, is due May 1…and yes it is a he…
and it’s a safe bet that Poppie is already planning a fishing trip…
So I just bet a lake may be in our future…who knows…

All I do know is that I only thought we were consumed by The Mayor…
now there will be two…under two…

Yes… God help us all!!!!!

“All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.”
Julian of Norwich

the mayor is in

When the burdens of the presidency seem unusually heavy,
I always remind myself it could be worse.
I could be a mayor.

Lyndon B. Johnson


(the mayor in her office / Julie Cook / 2018)

As the satellite aide to the Mayor of Woobooville, my job requires that I often travel
between her two offices.

And since the Mayor has been under the weather, I had to travel to her Atlanta office
in order to help her with the daily runnings of Woobooville.
Top officials may be the top dogs, but they still need help, especially when not feeling 100%.

First I had to drive the Mayor to her doctor’s office for an assessment of the situation.

Like most of us when visiting our doctor, the Mayor was filled with a bit of trepidation.
Being a stickler for time…meaning that time is hers and hers alone, the idea of someone
taking too much of that time, well, things can often get ugly fast.

But then the Mayor remembered that she could actually make the best of the drive…
by taking care of other matters.

Following the appointment, it was time to run to pick up a few items for what was assessed
as a viral infection. The doctor did run some tests and sent off this and that…
so now the Mayor’s office is currently waiting for the results.

Yet like most dutiful administrators, the Mayor tries her best to multitask during those
times when she is out of pocket, commuting from one appointment to another or knows
that her most trusted aide is by her side to assist.

However not all multitasking actions are meant for public viewing.

The Mayor has a great deal on her plate and some of those items require more thought
then others.

Yet at the end of the day when all is said and done,
the Mayor knows deep down in her heart that she can always lay her head down
knowing she has given her all to her constituents of Woobooville.

In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders.
All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,
“God opposes the proud
but shows favor to the humble.”

1 Peter 5:5

veeeeeeery interesting

“Veeeeeery interesting”
Arte Johnson
Rowan and Martin Laugh-In

I couldn’t remember…was it Hogan’s Heroes or Laugh-In?

Maybe you’re old enough to remember both mid to late 1960’s TV shows?

A quick little search answered my query…it was Laugh-In.

Laugh-In was a US television show running from 1968-1973.
It was a comedy show hosted by Dan Rowan and Dick Martin and featured a host of rather
silly and somewhat irreverent characters. Many of whom went on to their own
independent careers in comedy, television as well as the movies.

Arte Johnson was one such cast member who appeared as a variety of different characters
throughout the show’s 6 year run.
One such character was a recurring WWII German soldier who would pop up randomly and
apparently out of nowhere, usually emerging from behind some sort of fake plant,
after some silly sketch had taken place, with his running tagline always spoken in a very
heavy German accent…. “veeeeeeery interesting“…

There was no hidden meaning…just plain old silliness as Laugh-in’s humor was rooted in
the days of the early vaudeville and burlesque comedies.

After looking out the kitchen window yesterday afternoon and spying a rather odd shape
rummaging around behind a tree and the deer through my husband is currently
experimenting with…out back by the fence…
I quickly opted to grab my camera because somebody in this house has misplaced the
binoculars that I keep in the kitchen for just such an occasion when I need a quick look-see
at the visiting wildlife—and that somebody was not me.

There are four of us here.

One me, one husband and two cats.

I’ve ruled out the cats.

Zooming in the camera, I heard myself uttering that same long-forgotten tagline…
“veeeeery interesting”…
as in I now think I’ve discovered the culprit who yanked open the bird boxes,
pulled out the bluebird nests, grabbed all but one little blue egg and then devoured
nearly all of the apples from my once loaded apple trees.


(who’s little fury body is that down by the fence? / Julie Cook / 2018)


(my thief / Julie Cook / 2018)

I can’t say for certain that this is my theif…but the mask he’s wearing leaves little
room for any false accusations on my part…

The wild animals honor me, the jackals and the owls,
because I provide water in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland,
to give drink to my people, my chosen,

Isaiah 43:20