seeking and hiding

“In moments of exaltation one expressed sentiments that outstripped
one’s spiritual capabilities by a vast span; and she knew well that
unless God is sought for Himself alone, with a selflessness
of which she was at present incapable,
He is not to be found.”

― Elizabeth Goudge

(wild blackberries are ripening deep in the Georgia woods / Julie Cook / 2017)

(the ripening blueberries bushes out back in the yard / Julie Cook / 2017)

I go to great lengths when it comes to seeking out, and subsequently picking,
those glistening seasonal black and blue ripening gems…
those succulent orbs and globes of juicy blueberries and now
the incoming crop of wild blackberries.

I have been known to go to near daredevil feats in order to fill a basket, bowl or bag
with these precious little beauties.
I have braved chiggers, ticks, snakes…as well as bleeding to death due to digging deep
into the proverbial briar patch.

This obsessiveness over berry picking worries my husband.

He seems to believe that I do not possess the gift of lithe or grace when it comes to say,
walking…let alone standing on my head while reaching deep into a thicket of the unknown
in search of the elusive black or blue jewel.

I think it comes down to the fact that he’s going to hold that broken ankle business
against me for the rest of my non broken life.
It wasn’t my fault I fell in a drain hole while putting out the pine straw that spring…
a hole he’d dug out just days prior and failed to fill back in before I stepped in it.

So when I must balance on a narrow brick wall,
while leaning over as far as I can with one foot planted on the ledge while
the other leg is sticking straight out behind me in some sort of yoga like pose…
all the while as I’m reaching as far as I can
without face planting into a mass jumble of branches,
fruit and leaves…
well, I don’t know what the fuss and worry is all about.

I mean, I watch for the snakes, bees and ants.
I try my best not to fall, really I do.
I can’t help that I’ll be covered with red whelps the following day that will itch like
nobody’s business…
I can’t help that I scream the word “STOP!!” when we’re happily and quietly driving down
a road in the middle of nowhere when I suddenly spot a lovely ripening bramble bush
along the side of said deserted road… beckoning to be picked.
He likes the pies and cobblers…so what’s all the the big worry???

So naturally while I was reaching and digging deep buried up to my elbows in stickers,
all during the throws of my berry seeking session yesterday,
oh so busy about the task of finding and picking…
I was stuck by a startlingly similarity between my hyper focused quest in seeking
the elusive hiding fruits—the object of an almost obsessive determination, and
the lengths to which I know God goes when He wants, nay yearns, to seek out and
eventually find….us….

As we have the tendency to hide, always painstakingly out of arms reach…and
yet a loving God painstakingly seeks his own…
for He will go to even much greater and even more daring lengths in His quest for us
than dare say I do over a mere berry….

And boy how grateful I am that He does!

I will seek that which was lost,
and bring again that which was driven away,
and will bind up that which was broken,
and will strengthen that which was sick:
but I will destroy the fat and the strong;
I will feed them with judgment.

Ezekiel 34:16

blueberries and bugs


Ok, let’s move on shall we…away from accolades and awards to things that really matter, like bugs and blueberries. As I’ve been nursing this ankle of mine, I’ve not managed to make my rounds in the yard as aptly as I would prefer. Did you know that 90% of one’s weight is supported by the heavier tibia while a mere 10% is allocated to the fibula. Since it is the lower fibula that I broke, I am currently beginning to experiment with the whole concept of weight distribution.

Now when I think of weight distribution I usually think of my unhealthy consumption of butter and where it, the consumed butter, plans on distributing itself on my body. However I think this is more or less talking about what are weight-bearing bones and what bones are not weight bearing.

Now a woman of my age, not that my age is anything to consider, humph…. should perhaps be a little concerned with bone-mass as my doctor does make me have that checked on a yearly basis—something about osteopenia and needing to probably beef up on calcium… remember my friend and her tums concern…but I digress. So weight bearing seems important these days for all sorts of reasons.

Worried over the fact that one calf muscle now resembles a strand of spaghetti and the other is still nicely svelte for a non-competitive woman such as myself, I’m trying ever so gently to take off the air-cast and use a brace splint. Yes I know, a little too early I suppose but if you only knew how badly my other leg’s groin muscle and hip are now hurting due to life as a webble wobble, you wouldn’t scold me too much.

Walking on a hard flat surface such as the floor or driveway is nice. No problem. Remembering how to walk like an adult is another matter. It is also the yard, the un-level grass and ground that has me a bit worried, as that is what got me in this whole mess to begin with…that and an eager beaver let’s dig ditches and clean gutters out later type husband, but again—I digress.

90% is good as that seems to be the majority of the walking weight, but every once in a while, the 10% rears its ugly head and believe you me, I know that there is still a leg issue. Thank goodness I’m not a point toe dancer—and you can forget trying to put a leg down in the wellies. Hence why I’m now sitting, leg propped up, writing you.

Ok, so we’ve got to get the garden planted. The rain, the cold, my leg have all knocked us back weeks. The air-cast and I are not hitting the dirt together. Frankenstein meets the tomato is not my idea of a good time. So I’m gently trying out the brace splint. In my zeal to be a bit more mobile, I actually walked around to the back yard suddenly noticing that in my absence my blueberry bushes have lost all their flowers and are now actually covered in young green blueberries!! It looks to be a bumper crop. I’m so happy!


The other odd thing…have you ever noticed a sudden bit of infestation, by some type of creature in your yard, making you feel as if you are living in a 1960’s B movie? Not that this has anything to do with the latest emergence of the 17 year cycle cicadas…which I have not yet seen, or better yet, heard…. but rather some crazy looking little black and orange spiny thing. They are on my lawn chairs, the sidewalk, the plants, etc. The blasted things also bite or sting—and are easily smushed—which makes flicking them off things a bit gross and messy.

This is how great the internet can be—now you won’t hear me say that often as sometimes I feel the internet is more bad than good but in this case I make an exception. I hit goggle and typed in “little black and orange bug” and bingo, instant image—the exact tiny creature creeping me out. Turns out this “thing” is the larvae of the Asian multicolored ladybeetle—better known as the ladybug. Who knew??!! No matter, I like it no better and wish they’d all go away. Seems they are supposedly beneficial but have gotten a bit out of hand by overpopulating—seems that’s always the case—too much of a good thing. And anything that looks like this spiny thing and bites me is not a beneficial thing.



So that’s how things stand today. I managed to get all the little vegetable plants down to the garden, propping them up ‘til my ditch digging loving husband gets home from work, helping me to get them in the ground—he wants to dig so badly?? Let him dig in the garden!! I’m sorry, I just keep digressing. I’ve got 13 different heirloom tomato plants good to go, 4 eggplants—2 globe black beauties and 2 Japanese Ichiban, 2 red bell peppers and packs and packs of seeds—corn—yellow, white, red—okra– burgundy and green— beans– pole, bush, pinto, stingless, wax— peas, swiss burgundy chard, sweet orange watermelon, baby cucumbers, squash, zucchini—you name it—I’m salivating just typing….but wait, what is this….why is the sky suddenly looking so grey??!! Are those menacing rainclouds—-again??!!

D@m*it, is it suppose to rain—again??? AAAGGGGHHH!!!!!!!!

Updates and Unsundries—


My heart was hot within me,
While I was musing the fire burned;
Then I spoke with my tongue:
“Lord, make me to know my end
And what is the extent of my days;
Let me know how transient I am.
“Behold, You have made my days as handbreadths,
And my lifetime as nothing in Your sight;
Surely every man at his best is a mere breath.
“Surely every man walks about as a phantom;
Surely they make an uproar for nothing;
He amasses riches and does not know who will gather them.
“And now, Lord, for what do I wait?
My hope is in You.

Psalm 39: 3-7

In case you’re wondering, unsunderies are not sun dried undies, but rather a collection of mismatched odds and ends of this and that’s… pretty applicable to my life’s hodge podge of what makes me, me….but more about such later…

First let me comment on a few things—

If you read my post “Symbolism,” (my story of the Holy Trinity) you may have noticed that I accidentally had two of the same shots or artwork. There were to be 4 of the framed pieces which I had previously “created”… so I’ve gone back in, edited, and fixed that little faux pas, deleting the duplicate and adding the piece sadly overlooked, which was really one of the ones I most enjoyed working on more so then the others—oh well.


If you’ve not read the post dated from February 28th, “Goose chases, Passports and the times in which we live”—may I, first, recommended that earlier post for your reading pleasure as it is the story of my life and one of the funnier posts—unless you like the “Rome, Wine and a bit of Incontinence” post which is also my life in a nutshell. And yes, I can’t help that I am a woman of a certain age…..

I had gone to our county Court House, once I’d gotten all of my “crap” finally together (that’s how I was feeling after having scoured the world for all of these identifying documents). I was so happy. I drove up to our brand new and newly renovated court house, parked in the fancy schmancy new parking deck, walked into the main lobby of this beautiful new building (if a new court house can be beautiful) only to be greeted by the deputy sheriffs and the eerily similar airport security system.

I dump all of my belongings into the plastic bin and send it through the scanner as I sashay my way through the metal detector. At least the deputy sheriffs are friendlier than the TSA folks, no offense to any TSA folks reading this, but it seems to be an important part of the TSA secret club rules, do not smile, do not be friendly lest they detect any weakness.

I kindly ask the officer on which floor might I find the passport office. He replies in the same kind manor “second floor”—with a smile I might add which is more than I can ever say for TSA, but there I go digressing. I head to the elevator and up I go. I follow a sign to the big new wooden double doors. As I open the doors, I enter into a large waiting area that is empty. There are 3 ticket type booth windows in front of me with only one woman behind the far left window.

Naturally gravitating to the window with the person verses the windows with no one (does that not make sense to you? Go to a window with a person verses two empty windows? I thought so but I was wrong). I tentatively approach asking if this is where I need to be for a passport. Without looking up (why do they never look up) she barks “last window on the left”—this as I finally see the sign by her window “traffic citations.” I make my way down to the last empty window and just awkwardly stand there thinking she’s going to come down to this window. I hear her bark again, “press the bell” as I spy a doorbell looking ringer by the window. Now why would I need to press the bell, doesn’t she know I’m here?

Out of nowhere a voice bellows “JUST A MINUTE!” Things are suddenly not going as I would have hoped. My happiness in the delivering of all my painfully sought after vital information, suddenly and rapidly wanes. Finally another woman appears. She is not smiling. I’m getting use to that.

I begin my tale. In mid sentence she stops me and flatly asks, “do you have the correct form?” “Well, I’m not sure, but the last Passport agent I spoke with told me to use this form and include the cover letter (that was in the woman’s hand explaining the entire situation). If I called again—“They’d tell you something else” –she finishes my sentence for me.

“Do you have a photo or do I need to take one”. “oooo, she would have taken the picture” I muse silently. “ I have a picture, thank you.” I didn’t tell her how I’d gone to a photographer in town twice for a passport picture—the first picture had bad hair. I had to have a redo—not much better, but it would have to do.

She tells me to write a big check, raise my right hand and solemnly swear that I am who I am—my Lord, hasn’t that what I’ve been trying to do all these months gathering all my myriad of vital statistics?! I hand over everything and let out a huge sigh—it’s now in the hands of the Passport gods…….

Fast forward…THE PASSPORT CAME and I am now me on all of my major identifying documents!!!—but now there is an impending wedding to plan so all travel trips across the pond are temporarily on hold until further notice—more on weddings later……..
Ok, so now let’s move on…

I went back to the orthopedic office last week. The ankle is still swollen, still hurts, my good leg is now hurting having to drag around this 50 pound (no not really, maybe 100 lb) dead weight air-boot cast—they took new x-rays.
(if you don’t know what I’m talking about see the post “Pinestraw, the drainage hole, the ER and the broken Cookie”)

(a little less swollen, a little less black and blue—but painful to stand on and terribly weak, it’s the one on the left)

The doctor comes in, tells me things look in alignment and come back in 3 weeks. “What?!” I scream in my head. “That’s it?!”
Impatiently I ask “but what about the tendons and ligaments”—that’s what I’m more worried about, the bone, I know, will heal, it’s those more important rubber bands inside that hold everything together. He assures me things will heal. Time, it just needs time.

He tells me I need to give it time and all I’m hearing is that “Julie, you’re losing time.” Just sitting, resting, healing…hopefully healing. Wait, rest, heal– I hope.
But Scarlet, we won’t worry about it today, for that, my dear, is for another day. I need to go put up my leg. And speaking of… this whole “rest” concept is so foreign to me but I’m working on it.

I read a wonderful post the other day on the blog Following the Shepherd, found on —Blessings in the Thorn—sometimes—no actually, all of the time, we’ve got to stop fighting our “thorns” and instead, we need to find the blessings within the thorn! So I am now tasked with the job of finding the blessings in my new 50 lbs leg, forced to slow down to almost a complete stop, but yet, I must quit fighting this forced rest business. I do want my ankle to heal properly. As a friend keeps reminding me, “you know at our age, bones don’t heal like they once did.” “Eat Tums,” she tells me. “Calcium you know.” “Are you kidding me?!” Tums, really Sophie?! Lordy—or as my grandmother use to say “Lawdy!”

My husband came home form work early Wednesday in order to clean out the gutters. He also thought it really important to put in a new pipe for drainage, doing away with the infamous hole I stepped in. Really? Now he wants to clean gutters? With all of the rain we’ve had and all of the expected rain this weekend, he said it was urgent. Was it urgent that he dig out that drainage hole before we cleaned the gutters!!? Hummm…. Seems we didn’t need that little hole after all, as a tree root was blocking the gutter. Really? Now there is a nice new pipe. Humm… All as I was balancing the 20 ft ladder, up against the house, with him perched atop digging out wet goop, dropping it down on my head—me and my one good leg. Really? Suppose he has any sense of guilt as he sees me hobbling to and fro like a weeble wobble? Really.



When I first began this blog business, I didn’t know what to expect or think. Those of you, who know me, know that I don’t “do” facebook—none of that social media business for me. My small rebellion to a world gone mad I suppose…what with instant this and that, tweets, facebook, “immediate” just seems to be the name of the game. But a blog, that’s different, isn’t it? I’m more or less musing and offering encouragement, a little southern insight, while people can choose to muse along or not, right? At their leisure, right?

I think this is a good transition for a “retired” educator…you know how we teachers like to “muse.”
Just like in the classroom, people can choose to listen or not 🙂
Today 106 people have decided to “follow” me on my blog of “musing.” That may not sound like a lot, but to me it is 106 new friends in my life. I started all of this on February 25th, today is May 6th—I am honored that other people from all over the world care to hear and/ or see what a 53 year old woman down in Georgia may have to share. That’s nice. Very nice.

I know some of my friends prefer my posts about food, while others the travel tales…upsetting the apple cart, I then go and throw in a bit of the dramatic– to much of their dismay— but as a teacher, it was/ it is, important to me that I let my kids (and others) know that whatever trials, or thorns (thank you nonfatlatte) that they are experiencing– someone else knows and understands the same pain, the same frustration, the same sorrow…we are never ever truly alone. My kids always needed/ need to know that and it was/ is important that I let them know we all have our share of burdens as well as joy. Teenagers especially can feel isolated as they navigate this thing called Life—it was my job to help light the way…as I still feel that is my job.

It’s also nice sharing with other people “out there” who are on the same or similar journey—despite countries of origin, language, age, sex, the one thing I know to be true is that we are all more alike than we are different—just as I stated in the beginning of my blog—on the first post as to “why a blog”—it is the similarities that bind mankind, it’s all in how we decide to look at things.

God’s grace is sufficient—that is something I am also discovering—and that is blessing enough. May He continue blessing you, as you are blessing me.

Well I think that’s it for all of the sundries for now. Life—living, loving and learning—that’s what it’s all about. One step at a time and just knowing God is always a step or 10 ahead—thank goodness!

Learning on a broken ankle

“Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence.”
―Abigail Adams

(photo: Julie’s desk)

Well it’s now been just slightly over a week since the ill fated meeting between my leg and the drainage ditch. Each day has brought new insight–both good and bad…but that just may be in all how one choses to look at things….and I am finding I certainly need adjusting in my perspective as well as attitude….

First of all, a trip to the ER is very expensive as the first bill has arrived—but we won’t worry about that yet shall we….

Secondly— I have been touched and almost surprised by the kindness offered to me from various sales folks and individuals as they quickly notice my reason for wobbling. The checkout girl at Target (in the urban dictionary Tar-jay) immediately asked if she could help me to my car. Then the Publix checkout girl asked if she could help me to my car. Then the lady who runs the little feed and seed store where I was buying my heirloom tomato plants asked if she could help me by holding the plants as I picked them out and then offered helping me out to my car. Then there was the younger lady in a restaurant’s waiting area who got up and offered me her seat.
My defiant independence balks at such offerings– I always politely decline. However, I am touched none the less— but I’m finding I suddenly feel “old” …and maybe this is all about learning how to let folks help me.

Thirdly–my patience with myself is very limited. I grow very frustrated very quickly as I find I have taken so much “freedom” of mobility for granted. I am now, simply put, a weeble wobble–who possibly could fall down…again at any moment—living with a bit of fear…hummmm

Fourthly–it is amazing how quickly I moved about pre-cast and how laboriously slow I must now do simple things such as getting dressed. I ascend and descend stairs like a 5 year old little girl, taking one stair at a time. What took moments to scoot up and down, doubling stairs at a whim, is now anything but smooth. I’ve had to catch myself a couple of times from almost tripping as well as for gathering too much momentum going down—mustn’t tumble head over heels back down only to break something else….slow and steady goes the race… I was the rabbit, I am now the turtle.

fifthly (is that a word?)—things hurt as badly, if not worse, today on day 8 as they did on day 1. Plus the swelling remains….even after the suggestions of epsom salt and witch hazel. But I think this is in part due to the fact that I’ve not slowed down my daily pace as I probably should. I’m not sitting with the leg up as I suppose one should opting rather to stand and iron, or clean, or do what it is I do. Maybe what I think I do, which seems so important, simply is not….

Sixth–I am not a good patient for myself. I get very frustrated with myself. I’ve been in the depths of a yucky funk –ebbing and flowing out of a toxic mood. I know it’s due in part to not sleeping well, hurting, and my disdain for being still. I just can’t, in good conscience, allow myself time to just sit and do nothing–not unless I’m sitting on a beach somewhere in a chair under an umbrella–as long as the sun is shinning, there is just something that I must be doing. Being idol has never come easy to me. But I knew all of this would be an issue. “Be still and know that I am God…” maybe He’s trying to tell me something…..

Seventh–it’s only been 8 days —AGGGHHHHH!!!!!!! The aircast is like a 10 pound weight on one side of my body and one would think that after a while, the crutches would not be so difficult. And thank the Lord for my husband’s 20 year old four wheeler—my means of transportation in the yard and going to the mailbox—4 good wheels are now better than one good leg.

Eighthly-(bet you didn’t know that was a word)– as I have had my emotional ups and downs–spending much of Saturday in frustrated tears, I know there is so much I need to be grateful for. Oh how we take so much that we have for granted. I hope to be more keenly aware of others and their troubles. Everyone has troubles you know, it’s just that some people hide them better than others or mask them under all sorts of bravado.

Ninth—to learn patience. You know what they say about that…never pray for patience as God simply gives you more circumstance that requires such—oh my plate is full there, thank you very much, but I do want to have more patience for and with others…I want to be more kind. As I see different folks, say, at the grocery store—be kinder Julie, smile and speak, even if they are looking down… and don’t get so upset if they just leave their shopping cart in the parking lot rather than pushing it back where it belongs—just let them go and push it back for them…..who knows what’s on their minds…..

Tenth (ly) –To learn what really is important and what really matters…that is key. And to know that we all have to get up each new day and go about life–because none of us knows what the new day will hold……thank you for your patience with me 🙂

This boot was made for walking….

…and that’s just what I’ll do….

This is more or less a part 2 to the post
Pinestraw, the drainage hole, the ER and the broken Cookie


For anyone who has ever been stopped in his or her tracks due to injury or illness, there will no doubt be some sort of understanding to my words regarding my own “time on the sidelines.” Anytime something traumatic happens to us and our routine is suddenly disrupted, or our life is suddenly turned upside down, it can be a time of great frustration and angst. We tend to take our daily routine for granted. We often complain that our “day to day” life is boring, just ho hum. It’s all just a matter of fact. We don’t realize how much that ho hum day-to-day sort of life means to us until it’s altered.

You’ve heard/ read me say it before; I am a huge creature of habit. Being such seems almost necessary for me to simply make it through each day of my life. I don’t know why that is. It, too, must go back to the adoption, as everything goes back to the adoption! When all answers fail—it’s the adoption! Works for me. But routine and habit have always been the order of the day. Order and routine, always, all comforting.

So Tuesday when I stepped into the drainage hole, that order, that routine, that habit of life, suddenly fractured along with the ankle. A lateral malleolus fracture—at the bottom of the fibula. You know the fib and the tib?– that’s how I memorized them for anatomy class, those two bones that make up the lower leg below the knee—that’s the area of contention today. The ankle violently flipped outward as the bottom of the foot flipped inward, a loud audible POP, down I fall… next the pain.

I got up hoping it would “go away”, tying to do what I was intent on doing before I fell, as if that would make it all normal again…. there goes that necessary routine mode. When I realized it wasn’t going away and I was still really hurting I went about being as normal as I could by taking a shower, cleaning up, as I knew in the back of my mind a trip to the ER was inevitable. I kept fighting back the tears. “Don’t give in, keep doing things as normal as possible,” I kept telling myself. And as I often do in these painful moments, be it a physical or emotional pain—-I just wanted my mom. It doesn’t help she’s been gone now for 27 years. Why is it, in such times, no matter how old we become, we just always want our mom?

So I suppose the idea of routine may be a survival skill for me. As long as I can go about with some sort of normal flow of pace and routine, bad things won’t be as bad. If I can maintain my control of the situation, I can make it through anything. Oh dear, does that now mean I have control issues as well?! I fear my son and my students may say a big fat YES to that, but I dirgress. Good Lord.

This is a busy time of year around the house. Living on 5 acres, there is a lot of work to be done in the yard. The garden has just been plowed; it’s now time to plant. There is pressure-washing for parts of the house, the porch, the walkway, due in part to all the massive pollen, washing out the garage, washing the windows, pruning of the trees, cleaning those blasted gutters, washing down the deck, repainting outdoor furniture, and simply getting outside as the weather warms. That’s life at home in early Spring. This being the first Spring since retiring, I’ve really been looking forward to devoting my time outside for a change!

But for reasons, always unbeknownst to me, there has been a change in plans. I could go on and on about the whys of why this happened when it did…why didn’t I stop my work earlier, why didn’t I pay better attention when heading down the bank…but isn’t that how it always is? If I hadn’t been on that road, that day, I wouldn’t have been hit by the truck…if I hadn’t been engaged in such deep conversation at the restaurant, I wouldn’t have forgotten the I Pad…the list goes on and on….we all ask those why questions whenever things go wrong.

Simply put, I cracked my ankle and that’s that. Time to get over it and go on. Unfortunately the getting over it and going on is not always as easy as it may all sound. It’s a matter of having to learn how to use the crutches without causing more damage (they look easy but trust me, the turning radius is not that great). It’s a matter of learning how to walk with a Frankenstein foot—did you know you can’t really squat down very well, say, to pick up a dropped piece of paper as the air boot wants to flip you backwards-you’d think the first time I would have learned, but no, I had to do that twice to figure out it was not going to work. Then there is the matter of trying to sleep without twisting or turning the wrong way in the bed, because, believe me; everyone in the house will know when that happens. There is frustration for the simple routines that are now altered but I think the biggest thing for me, that is most frustrating, is the whole slowing down issue.

I’ve never been slow. Anyone who has ever walked anywhere with me will tell you, it’s not always fun trying to keep up. I don’t intentionally wish to race here and there as if my life depended on it; I just seem to have come by this speed walking thing naturally (the adoption, let’s not forget the adoption). I do try making a concerted effort at slowing down when traveling and walking with friends, but it always sneaks up on me—the pace ever quickening. Maybe I’m afraid I’ll miss something…I’m not running from something necessarily but maybe it’s more a matter of running to something…who knows?!

So now, working at slowing down is becoming imperative. I got the boot and figured I’d just go on, almost as normally as possible, boot in tow—low and slow. The problem is that the swelling seems worse. Hmmm? Maybe I need to take some time to just sit, propping up my leg. What a novel concept. Yesterday, the first full day with the boot, I headed out to run errands. I think I stayed on my foot all day until after supper. It doesn’t hurt so much in the boot; once I’m up and about, but getting up is another story…these slow older bones…. The boot is heavy, walking is tiring and laborious…and did I mention, slow.


At 53, I do have a bit of what the doctor calls osteopina (a kind of pre-osteoporosis) and some osteoarthritis—and may I just say that the opposite hip is now getting tired of doing a lot of the work. “But Julie,” you say, “you seem so active, so healthy..” yes, well remember the adoption?…. The boot makes me almost 2 inches higher on one side—talk about lopsided walking! Maybe that’s the point—–walking, and mere movement, becomes such a chore that it forces you to want to just sit and say to hell with it all. Unfortunately I kind of ignore that. Ugghhh.

I must say that I am a little concerned that my toes look like 5 little blue sausages and that there is no a visible anklebone in sight. It’s been 3 days—they say the 3rd day is always the worst—maybe my toes will be more normal and things like anklebones more visible tomorrow…and by the way who is “they”—these experts? 3 days with either a cast or boot—and they’re telling me 6 weeks. Oh good Lord!!

gross is that a foot or something out of Alien?!


During these next several weeks I am certain there will be ups and the downs. There will be the “new” normals, which will mean that once I can free myself of the boot, I will have to learn how to walk without thinking one half of my body is 2 inches taller than the other half. One leg may be a little more firm, the other leg, not so much. One leg may be a little darker, the other leg, not so much. I may just have to relearn how to be quick on my feet all over again. But hopefully I can learn how to slow down a bit because that seems to be a reoccurring issue with me—one I just keep refusing to heed.

It will be interesting no doubt, one I’m certain you’ll be hearing about. Just let me be your test dummy. Learn from my mistakes, as I’m here to make it easier for you. It’s the least I could do, so you’re welcome ☺
And by the way, it just dawned on me…back in February, when I first started this blog I did so under the umbrella of transition, as that was where I was finding myself—seems this transition business just keeps morphing into more and more change….did I ever tell you how I don’t like change? We’ll save that for another day Scarlet 🙂

Pinestraw, the drainage hole, the ER and the broken Cookie


So I’m sure you recall my postings of how I’ve been so like the busy little bee this Spring–right? The sun comes out, the weather warms up and off I go like a mad woman in 50 different directions all at once. Of course those who know me will tell you that is nothing new or unusual. “Julie always is running around like a chicken with her head cut off.”

There is so much to do ridding ourselves of this lingering winter dirge. And now with the pollen having blanketed our world in a dusty unrelenting yellow haze, there is even that to wash away. Maybe it’s because this is my first “retired” Spring where I am actually on the outside verses standing on the inside only wishing I were outside. Maybe it’s just because I tend to be a bit type A personality when it comes to chores…can’t let the sun set without doing it all right now, today!!!

You should know that I love trees. What? What does that have to do with Spring Cleaning? Trust me. I’m not certain as to why I love them— I just find them to be majestic, beautiful and strong. Sounds like something from a dating site, but I digress. My husband, on the other hand, sees them as trouble. They fall on houses and power lines during storms, they need to be pruned, sawed and hacked. And then there are the leaves. The leaves, in his opinion, wreck havoc, on not only that freshly mowed lawn of his, but the gutters as well.

Gutters you say? Yes, the things that help route the rushing rain water off the roof during a storm, down and away from the house. Without such one could face a terrible a time of leaking water into foundations, basements not to mention the onslaught of local ground flooding. Leaves have a tendency to accumulate in gutters and clog them up. Hence why my husband hates trees. Makes perfect sense, right? I suppose it does to other men with gutters.

Each year we haul out the big bertha of ladders from the basement. We, yes we, as it takes two to finagle this behemoth, precariously pushing it up against the side of the house. I stand at the base; bracing the ladder and hopefully holding it steady as my husband ascends to the heavens, or in this case, the gutters. One slip and I need to catch him…hummmm…maybe rather, step aside as he lands.

He usually can’t climb high enough to look down into the gutters as the ladder barely reaches the gutters. This means he must blindly reach his hand down into the wet, yucky unknown, pulling out the “goop” of decaying leaves, bugs and slime, throwing it down below. Do you recall who is standing, down below, at the base? Many times wet smelly black gunk seems to plop down on my head. Do you know how bad rotting wet decaying leaves, straw and bugs smell?

I don’t know why he won’t let me do the climbing while he does the holding. I’m lighter, seemingly more agile, more spider monkeyish, whereas he is the stronger more stable base type. However I always hear the same thing… “Heck no you’re not climbing up here, you’ll fall.” But who is it that pulls out the 10ft freestanding ladder and cuts limbs while he’s at work… that will just be our little secret ok?

Just recently we’ve noticed that there is some leaking, no doubt the result of clogged gutters. Which all goes back to “those damn trees”—his words, not mine. There are a couple of drainage pipes he’s routed from the gutters, diverting the rushing rain water down in the yard away form the house. Those openings will often clog up as well with leaves and debris. This past week he dug out two of the openings of these underground pipes to ensure that the waters do not back up and can freely drain.

Now lets remember who’s been out working in the yard like a crazy woman. 125 bails of pinestraw has to be spread out—all around the bushes and plants, up around my beautifully strong and majestic trees. I do this every year. It’s how I get my lovely pinestraw tan—others call it a farmer’s tan, I like to think of it as the pinestraw tan.

Yesterday I started my outdoor work at 10AM. By 3PM I was tired and thought I needed to wrap it up for the day. I had strewn straw, cut limbs (remember, that’s our secret) and had been attacked by the hordes of fire ants that the South is so infamous for….oh how I hate them!! There you are just standing on ground, in the grass, minding your own business, who knew you’d just stepped on an ant mound—by the time you feel the first bite, its’ too late—you’re covered. Looking down your foot and leg are both a brown teaming swarm of moving pain.

All southerners know of the fire ant dance. You fling off you shoe(s), sometimes your pants as well—of which I am not ashamed to say I have done, right there in the yard, before God and everyone. Hopping up and down swatting at your extremities. Some people are quite allergic to their bite. They have been known to quickly kill a newborn calf, or any other poor creature, that finds its unsuspecting way on a mound. So needless to say, I had had my share of bites for the day. Plus there was that blasted scorpion that was hiding in the pinestraw bail—just waiting to sting me on the wrist. I hate those little brown devil things as well!

Not that I keep up with such, but I am a “Scorpio” so you’d think that they would leave kinfolk alone but noooo. There I was, minding my own business, cutting the latest bail and spreading out the mass of straw when, BAM, right on my wrist. So between stings and bites, I pretty much figured I needed to call it quits before I fell into some sort of anaphylactic shock. All I needed to do was to put up the ladder, move the Four Wheeler and trailer that I had loaded with the remaining bails of straw which I would unload the following morning. It was Popsicle time!!

Yes, I did say Popsicle. No that is not code. Whenever I’m hot, sweaty and filthy from working in the yard, I always end with a refreshingly cold lime Popsicle. It’s my little incentive. I had already moved my phone and gloves to the front yard lawn chairs, simply leaving me to walk down the bank to the back yard so I could move the Four Wheeler.

Remember the drainage hole? Yes, I knew it was there. I purposely made certain to miss the hole with the Four Wheeler. So down the bank I come when suddenly one leg seems shorter than the other, POP and down I go withering in pain. The damn drainage hole!! How in God’s name had I not spotted it? Popsicle on the brain I suppose.

There I lay, on the ground, Four Wheeler loaded with straw, motor running, cell phone up in the front of the house. “Oh God, please don’t let me be on a fire ant mound!!” I wailed out loud. And then there was my worry of the hot muffler from the Four Wheeler and the endless exhaust. But the pain, oh God the pain!! Great—here I am with a broken leg and I’m actually going to die from fire ants and exhaust fumes.

Panic sets in over the ants as I think I’m about to pass out or throw-up as my ankle is hurting so badly. “You’ve rolled it, just rolled it…you’re ok,” I keep telling myself. “Get up before they bite you!!” I sit up making certain there’s no mound, no ants, and no scorpions. I need to move the Four Wheeler. It’s loaded with straw. I force myself up on the Four Wheeler and drive it under the tree (you’d think it would make sense to drive myself up to the house but no, that would be too easy). I hobble back up the bank thinking I’m still going to throw up. By now my ankle is looking like a grapefruit.

“The Popsicle, go get the Popsicle, it will make you feel better. You’ve just rolled it, you’re ok”, hobbling I go in to get the Popsicle, not the phone mind you but the all important Popsicle. Now you must know that I’m looking like a filthy cowhand. I’m covered in straw, dust, pollen, and sweat. I’m wearing a black sports tank, black running shorts, a ballcap and my trusty Chaco’s. I make my way to the lawn chair and call my husband from my cell phone. I tell him I stepped in the drainage hole. “Didn’t you see it?” he asks rather incredulously. As he hears the pain in my voice he backs off the “stupid you” questions-“–had I seen it, why would I have stepped in it had I seen it?” (say this in your head with a real sarcastic tone)—what kind of question is that!!

I tell him I’m going to go in to take a shower, it should make me feel better…all the while knowing this is more than a rolled ankle. I make it to the shower with the cats following me…they are meowing with that yelling type of meow. I know it’s because “mommy is back in the house and she is here to feed all the hungry children” but I think perhaps they sense mommy is in real pain.

I quickly decide that if I have to go to the ER, I was not going to look like, as my grandmother would say, white trash—no offense to anyone, just her way of telling me to always look my best when going out—dying or not. So cleanse my filth I must, pain or no pain.

In agony I try taking off my clothes, which mind you, are full of pinestraw. So I just stand in the shower trying to pull everything off. I sit down on the floor of the shower, which is now covered in straw, attempting to scrub my blackened feet—can’t go to the ER with blackened feet. I attempt washing my hair. “Am I about the throw up again?” I wonder. “Oh dear Lord, I can’t pass out in the shower with the water running, do you know what the water bill would be?!”

I drag my dripping self out of the shower grabbing a towel and make for the bed. “Lie down, yes, that will help” I reassuringly mumble to myself. One of the cats jumps on the bed and immediately lies down beside me with his paw on my back. Does he sense I’m dying or simply pondering if he should make me his meal once I’m gone? Cats I fear are a little selfish that way.

“My hair, my hair, I’ve got to dry it and get the straightening iron, I can’t let it air dry!” Thinking I must always go out in public, say, as I would if going out to dinner. I drag myself back to the bathroom. By now I can’t put weight on my foot. I’ve started crying. “Finish your damn hair, a little make-up will help.” Doesn’t make-up help everything?

I call my dear friend whose daughter is a nurse at the hospital. Hopefully she’s working. My friend has her daughter call me. I tell her what’s going on; she says it sounds as if it could be broken. She will call the ER to tell them I’m on my way…driving myself. The other phone is ringing. It’s my future daughter-n-law calling me to tell me about her first job interview. I listen to her in one ear, “nurse Betty” in the other ear—“am I about to throw up again?” Politely I thank my nurse and tell my dear daughter-n-law to be that I’m proud of her but I must be hanging up now as I’m about to drive myself to the ER. Suddenly I think I’m about to pass out…

My husband pulls into the driveway in the nick of time…. off we go to the ER.

It is still before 5PM; hopefully the ER won’t be too crowded. The hospital has just completed a multimillion-dollar renovation and I now get to see it all up close and personal. The staff comes to help as they’ve been forewarned I’d be alone. I think they were a little disappointed seeing my husband. I’m wheeled in and checked-in in a jiffy. I tell my husband to go move his truck, better yet, go back to work; I’ll most likely be a while. When I’m really hurting and in these crisis type situations, I tend to handle it better alone.

Very reluctantly he leaves. “Is he perhaps feeling guilty for digging holes in the yard, knowing I would eventually step in one,” I muse silently in my pain racked mind. I’m in a wheelchair over by the window. The television is on to the Atlanta news. The story is of Boston. I am thinking about how the hospital I sit in is quiet, bathed in the warm afternoon sun—it is calm—a far cry form the hospitals in Boston the day before where chaos and a state of emergency reigned supreme. Here I was sitting with a broken ankle— but at least I had my ankle, my leg, my life. There were now many other people hurting, not only physically but emotionally as well. My thoughts turn to the little 8 year old boy and his sister……….

The nurse comes to get me. She wheels me into a nice new ER room. No curtains here but rather a state of the art room. They wheel in a portable x-ray machine. How cool is that?! I can just sit there and x-ray now comes to me! The x-ray is a little “suspect” but we must wait for the radiologist to read it. By now my friend, “nurse betty’s” mom and my husband arrive.

The PA comes in to tell me that the end of the long outside bone is fractured. Of course she uses big words but I like the simple version. The violent pulling of the tendon just ripped off that part of the bone. A lovely little fracture with some damaged tendons and ligaments no doubt. It’s what I get for having skinny ankles (my thighs make up for that however)—not enough meat for protection.

She moulds a cast to both sides of my leg and wraps them in place. This is temporary as she tells me I must go see the Orthopedic doctor tomorrow. She tries giving me a pain pill. “No!!” I practically scream. Now anyone who knows me will tell you I am not one to turn down a free pain pill, but I had not eaten and was getting really hungry. All I needed was a pain pill on an empty stomach and I’d be throwing up all over the place. I can’t have multiple miseries at once—one crisis at a time please.

And just as quickly as we came, we depart. It was off for crutches and a prescription for pain pills plus a pick up of a take out order from Longhorn’s. Steak—-I need protein I rationalized.

The lesson here is to be careful where you step, don’t let the thought of popsicles sidetrack you—and always keep your gutters clean! And never trust your husband with a shovel!!