Good and bad

Good judgment comes from experience,
and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.

Will Rogers

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(twin fawns / Julie Cook / 2016)

Aren’t they precious?
Twin little fawns…
just so sweet…

Yet…

When they get a little older,
they will eat all of my flowers and plants…

So they are both good and bad…

Much like today…

both good and bad….

The good news is that the Oncologist told us the battery of tests and scans show
no cancer in Dad’s lung’s or bones…just in the muscle of the bladder wall…

But there is a relatively large ascending aortic aneurysm…which is bad…
very very bad….

The good news is that he thinks a regime of chemo and radiation
may be successful on the cancer…

But we should now go see a Thoracic specialist…
I’m sorry…
I forgot,
how many doctors does that make we need to see?

The good news is that I took an arsenal of prescribed pills last night hoping
to be able to drive to Atlanta today without withering in pain…

I did indeed drive, with the pain being more tolerable…
but the pills made me feel as if I was going to
either pass out or throw up…or drop my head hoping for lala land….

And that mind you…. is with just one pill,
I have to work up to 3 a day…
Hummmmmmm…..

The good news is we head to the radiologist on Monday
The bad news is we head to the radiologist on Monday

The good news is that this Oncologist thinks a combined treatment could have some success…
The bad news is that dad is wended just walking from the bathroom to the den,
having to sit down before passing out, and that is hoping he doesn’t fall en route.

Hence why he now travels outside of the house via wheelchair….

The bad news is that Dad is feeble and frail—
As the question begs…
Can he tolerate what now awaits come Monday…

The good news being…
we will just wait wait and see…

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ,
after you have suffered a little while,
will himself restore you and make you strong,
firm and steadfast.
To him be the power for ever and ever.
Amen.

(1 Peter 5:10-11)

Monday’s mania and the tale of a wayward vulture

Since knowledge is but sorrow’s spy,
It is not safe to know.

William Davenant

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(A poor lost griffon vulture, image courtesy the BBC)

What’s a griffon vulture and the high stakes game of espionage and intelligence gathering have to do with one another?
Absolutely nothing.
Yet try telling that to the Lebanese government.

Meet a comedy of errors that had a near disastrous consequence for one hapless griffon vulture.

It seems that this carrion loving bird, who was simply out and about for an innocent lazy ride along the thermals over the Israeli occupied Golan Heights, made the egregious mistake of nonchalantly wandering into Lebanese air space.
He was subsequently captured and “incarcerated” by local Lebanese villagers who mistook him for an Israeli spy.

“A vulture an Israeli spy???!!!” I hear you incredulously howling….

Seems our unsuspecting raptor, who had a tracking device on his tail, was observed flying into Lebanese airspace and was thus assumed to be up to no good…as if eating dead things is a good thing….

But the truth of the matter is that vultures, who have long been absent from this region, were recently reintroduced back into this particular area of the Middle East. Each vulture has a tracking device and a leg tag marking them as a part of Tel Aviv University’s biological research department. Students track these birds in order to monitor their flight patterns, nesting habits, the potential for repopulating the region as well as for their overall wellbeing.

The Lebanese villagers suspecting a “Zionist” plot hatching out right over their heads pegged this lone vulture as a spy most likely complete with a spy cam.
It took the intervention of the UN to broker a deal for the poor vulture’s release and safe return back to the University.

And it should be noted that this is not the first incident of a suspect vulture’s mistaken identity and subsequent “arrest”…..
It seems that even poor vultures are not exempt from the rampant paranoia of high stakes espionage.

So the next time you see a bunch of buzzards circling overhead, eyeing that latest possum roadkill, you might want to think twice about whether or not that’s really a possum and whether or not that’s really a buzzard….

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-35446528

Here’s to putting a smile on your face this Monday morning….

Monday in a meadow

Nevertheless there are certain peaks, canons, and clear meadow spaces which are above all compassing of words, and have a certain fame as of the nobly great to whom we give no familiar names.
Mary Hunter Austin

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(dragon fly / Troup Co, Georgia / Julie Cook / 2015)


“Brown wings among the browner grass
And breast all brightening yellow —
Pipes up from meadows as we pass
The lark’s call, clear and mellow;
Now wakes the burnished dragonfly
Beside the glinting river,
That shakes with silent laughter where
The iris banners quiver;
Now on the budding poplar boughs
The tuneful blackbirds perch:
For the catkin’s on the willow
And the tassel on the birch.”

Excerpt form Spring in the Meadow
by Mary Hunter Austin

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(dragon fly / Troup Co, Georgia / Julie Cook / 2015)

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(dragon fly / Troup Co, Georgia / Julie Cook / 2015)

The simple path

“After all,” Anne had said to Marilla once, “I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.”
― L.M. Montgomery

“The Simple Path
Silence is Prayer
Prayer is Faith
Faith is Love
Love is Service
The Fruit of Service is Peace”

― Mother Teresa

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(a simple lovely breakfast / Julie Cook/ 2015)

5 readily available ingredients. . .
eggs, simmered 6 minutes–preferably as fresh and organic as they come, hence an orange yolk
1 slice of bread, lightly toasted–preferably a nice little rustic slice
butter, a light unctuous spread of the real deal
sea salt
fresh ground pepper
and there, my friend is a meal fit for both king or pauper.

Simple, unadulterated, humble fare.

And please excuse that sound of retching in the background because when my aunt sees this picture,
she will begin to throw up as she does not like eggs–not the sight, sound, smell or taste
but we shan’t allow that to stop this particular thread of thought this morning, she’ll quickly scroll past the picture.

Now, back to where we were. . .

Simple fare.
Nothing frufru,
nothing fancy smancy
A soul satisfying plate of bare bones simple.
As in less is more.

As human beings we have grown greatly accustomed to making more from less
We think more, bigger, extravagant equates to better, perhaps even best.
We want to top this with that.
We vie to go beyond.
Often not knowing when to leave things be.
We perfect and perfect some more.
We build upon what was there striving to make it all so much more special, more grand.
Stopping is not an option let alone failing. . .
We examine, expand, explore. . .always being ready to fix and to add
We pile on while always going beyond.

Satisfaction is fleeting
Settling unheard of
Resting on laurels passe

Yet it is when we scale back
Strip things bare
Pare down
Slow down
Detox
Declutter
Downsize
Clean out
Throw out
Simplify

Life becomes sweet, savory, pleasant, peaceful, complete.

So on this new morning to this new week, as life prepares to offer you a myriad of paths throughout a busy and most likely chaotic week, don’t be afraid or deterred when choosing your path– make the conscious decision to choose the simpler path. . .you just may be surprised that the choice of the simple and the less, in the end, is delightfully more satisfying.

Possibilities and Potential

Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do.
Pope John XXIII

If I were to wish for anything, I should not wish for wealth and power, but for the passionate sense of the potential, for the eye which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible. Pleasure disappoints, possibility never. And what wine is so sparkling, what so fragrant, what so intoxicating, as possibility!”
― Søren Kierkegaard

Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential.
Winston Churchill

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(a tulip tree bud ready to burst forth / Julie Cook / 2015)

Alarms sound
coffee brews
a sun rises
sleepy eyes open
showers taken
dogs walked
breakfast gulped
buses run
bells ring
traffic snarls
It’s Monday morning, again

A new day and a new week eagerly arrives
Last week is gone along with all that happened and took place,
be it good or bad.
This new morning, to this new week, offers all sorts of potential and possibility.
The sky’s the limit.
There are no “nos” yet shouted.
There have yet to be any disappointments
There are no failures
No quarrels
No wrongs
No crises
Only a clean slate just waiting for a fresh new mark
Greet the day with head held high. . .
For this is the day the Lord has made and we will rejoice and be glad in it
Psalm 118:24

Now

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.
Henry Stanley Haskins

Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying. Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day. Do it! I say. Whatever you want to do, do it now! There are only so many tomorrows.
Pope Paul VI

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(tufted titmouse enjoying breakfast / Julie Cook / 2014

Don’t look now, but like it or not, Monday morning is here again.
Adding a bit of the proverbial insult to injury, it’s pouring down rain. . .
yet I suppose it could be worse. . .and we do need the rain. . .

So for better or for worse, we don’t have much of a choice now do we?
Yes Monday it is and it is here. . . as in it is here all day.
The weekend has officially passed and is now “in the books”. . .it has come and gone and for some of us, the passing of the weekend is a good thing—for others of us, the end has come entirely too soon.
Last week, is just that, last week. . .as in, for good or bad, it is well behind us.
And now, spread out before us like a wonderful new book waiting to be explored, is this brand new day and this brand new week complete with its rain, cold and snow.

As in here it is, right NOW!!!

Tomorrow, followed by the end of the week, then followed by the upcoming weekend, and then the following week, only to be followed by next month. . .are all simply ahead of us—as in there is nothing we can do as we have no control as to when or how or if those days will ever come. . .

The importance of today is simply that, the importance of the now. . .as in the only thing that really matters is today and of the now of today.
Do you think it possible to learn how to embrace the now of this moment of today rather than worrying about those things which took place yesterday or fretting about the things that will happen tomorrow?

When I was in high school, Pope Paul VI was the pope occupying the chair of Peter and the overseer of the Catholic Church.
Giovanni Montini, the prelate from Milan, was what I always considered to be a rather austere, seemingly quiet and a bit cold academic—a most learned man–yet very different from his predecessor, the jolly and loving John XXIII as well as for his two successors, the ever smiling and shy John Paul I and the most charismatic and mystical John Paul II.

For this rather bookish academic to have uttered the words of today’s quote, that we should learn to seize the day, seemed to be a bit out of character. And yet it is for this very uncharacteristic comment from a very reserved spiritual leader on the world stage, which has brought a smile to my face and a small spring to my step.
If Pope Paul VI says that life is too short and therefore each day, each “now,” is to be embraced, enjoyed and celebrated, then by george, who am I to refute such sage advice??

So on this new day to this new week of this month of thanksgivings, may we be mindful of the words of Pope Paul VI . . .”whatever you want to do, do it now! There are only so many tomorrows. . .”

Monday, all day

Monday’s child is fair of face,
Tuesday’s child is full of grace;
Wednesday’s child is full of woe,
Thursday’s child has far to go;
Friday’s child is loving and giving,
Saturday’s child works hard for its living;
But the child that is born on the Sabbath day
Is bonny and blithe, and good and gay.

Mother Goose

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(Two doves who look to know that today is indeed a Monday / Julie Cook / 2014)

Why do I think Mother Goose got it all wrong??
Today is Monday or by the time you’re reading this, it will most likely be, thankfully, Tuesday or hopefully some other day–any other day than Monday!
Monday marks the dreaded beginning of the work week.
It is the day most folks wish would quietly come and go as quickly and as painlessly as possible.

Maybe Monday’s child should be full of dread, difficultly, foreboding–no offense to any of you born on a Monday— but fair of face?? Really?? I beg to differ.
You never hear of folks clamoring for a Monday to hurry up and get here like they do for a Friday.
You don’t hear of people getting ready to kick off Mondays by starting the party on Sunday evenings.
I suppose that’s why they invented Monday Night Football—trying to bring the weekend down easy. . .

I suppose I should have seen it coming.
I suppose I should have realized it this weekend when “they” decided it was time (get it) to switch up the times on me. This whole time thing, dark in the morning / light in the evening, light in the morning / dark in the evening. . . is an entire post of its own waiting to happen—
but I’ll just stick with Monday for now thank you very much—I can only handle one bad thing at a time!

So as I was saying. . .I should have been a little more cautious this morning when first light forced my brain awake at 6:15, which was really 5:15 or maybe 7:15 or was that really 8:15–all I know is that two days ago it was an entirely different time—-see what I mean—why do “they” enjoy tormenting me this way???
Digressing.

As I had by now opened my eyes, there was no going back, there was no other alternative but to get up.
It wasn’t so bad. I hadn’t slept anyway and seriously, what woman my age does sleep? (Digressing)
6:15 or 7:15 beat my mornings when I was teaching as I would have to get up at 5 AM, which would have been 4 AM or maybe it would have been 6 AM–AAAGGGGHHHH—see what I mean. . .again digressing.

Any whooooo. . .

As I get busy going about my morning routine and rituals, my husband readies for work.
I feed the cats, fix my coffee, post my post, clean the cat box (joy of joys), let one cat outside, the other cat out on the deck (he’s an indoor cat who’s outside is the deck), kiss my husband good-bye, let the cats back in and out respectively at least 10 more times, move some things out of the garage, come back in, read my devotional and say my prayers. . .next it’s off to strip the bed as this is “wash day”, let the cats back in and out respectively at least 10 more times–yada, yada, yada. Plus I knew I needed to get a move on if I was going to exercise before heading out to the grocery store and the Monday ritual of errand running.

Down to the basement I trot, checking on all the plants I’ve had to move in due to the freezing temperatures suffered all weekend. My workout area is now crammed full of giant potted plants and two fruit trees loaded with green fruit, who are taking their own sweet time to ripen.
30 minutes of weights then 30 minutes on the nemesis, aka Elliptical.

Huffing and puffing with just about a minute of time remaining to the run, I begin to hear an odd bit of thumping. Note to self–remind husband to check all the nuts and bolts, making certain things are good and tight—when suddenly there’s a snapping sound and a thud, as I am propelled forward falling precariously to the right while at the same time trying to stop the 5 mph speed of motion of the arm swings before real damage occurs to both me and machine.
“What the. . .??!!”
IT BROKE!!!! AAAGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!!

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Are you freaking kidding me???!!!
Lifting the broken leg bar, which must have some sort of resistance or tension against it, as it immediately snaps back down, out of my hand, slicing open my wrist. You know, the side of the wrist those wishing to end things go for—it’s deep, it’s bleeding— so now, not only am I mad, I’m going to bleed to death.
Great.

Sweating like a pig and out of breath, remember I was just finishing the workout when the blasted thing snapped, plus now bleeding to death on top of being mad, I grab the information booklet and head upstair to the phone in order to call these Sole Elliptical folks on their 1 800 number.

Greeted with automation I push the number button I’m directed to push in order to speak with a representative.
The phone disconnects.
What??!!
I dial again.
More automation.
Pushing more numbers.
Still bleeding to death with paper towels wrapped around wrist.

The automated voice tells me I am caller number 2 in line or in the imaginary “que”.
I head up stairs, with phone to ear and pressure on sliced open wrist, in order to rummage through file folders for the receipt.
Always keep the receipt!!!
A person finally answers.
I’m still bleeding.
Still sweating.

“Mam, do you have the 16 digit serial number?”
“Where would that be located?”
“On the machine”
I run back down stairs, a double flight back to the basement, while holding the phone to my ear and pressure on my wrist.
“There is no number on the machine”
“Yes mam, there is, it should be on the fly wheel”
“There is no number on the fly wheel”
“You need to pop off the covering over the fly wheel, it’s located inside the housing”
“WHAT?”— now he tells me
Jerking and pulling, I can’t get the plastic covering to ‘pop off’
“Yes mam, it should just pop off”
“It isn’t popping off, did I tell you how the thing sliced my wrist wide open??”
“Mam, we’re here until 7PM CST if you’d like to wait for your husband to come home to help you.”
“WHAT???”
Still pulling and pushing I ask if he’s certain this thing isn’t screwed shut.
“Mam, you may want to get a flathead screwdriver.
Oh ho buddy, I’m one up on you, I’ve already got the screwdriver!!
By this point, thinking I’m going to break the damn thing with Marcel (the name of the representative) wanting to hang up on me. . .
I pry open the panel just enough the see the blasted serial number.
“Oh wait, I can just see the sticker, let me read you the numbers”
“Mam what’s your address? Full Name? Phone number?”
“Am I going to have to ship this whole thing back to you all??!!”
“No mam, we should be able to send you a part”
“Can you take a picture so I can see what exactly broke”
“I can do that”
He gives me his e-mail address and we hang up.
With me still bleeding and Marcel nonplused over my ordeal–probably needed to act unconcerned thinking I was sue happy.

I snap the pictures, upload them, compose the e-mail and off it goes—into cyber-land.
Have I heard back?
No
Shouldn’t some sort of a reply of confirmation come back letting me know that Marcel got the e-mail????
One can only hope. . .
Great.

My wrist is still bleeding.
I head to the bathroom in order to preform some sort of triage.
I pour betadine over my wrist, now turning everything yellow,
Still bleeding.
Next, cotton balls soaked in alcohol
AAAGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!
Still bleeding but at least things should now be sterile.
I probably need a stitch, maybe two, but who has time to sit in an ER for 4 hours??
And of all things, here I am, not trying to commit suicide, and I’m going to be the person who bleeds out.
Great.

I shower.
I let the cats back in, for the umpteenth time.
I dry may hair
I bandage my wrist.
I let the cats back out
I dress (don’t worry about the order—it all gets done, clothes, no clothes, comsi comsa)

But now I’m afraid to leave the house.
Wonder what’s waiting for me out there if all this happened in here?!
Hummmm. . .
Oh, I’m just probably delusional from the loss of blood.

Fast forward to my arrival back home, thankfully in one piece.
Still bleeding through the bandaging, I proceed to bring in the groceries.
I notice the mailman at the neighbor’s box so I make my way up the driveway to meet the carrier at my box.
I know they see me coming because it’s a clear shot of our driveway from the neighbor’s mailbox.
Just as I reach to open the gates (yes we have a gate, because we have a fence, because of those blasted rodeo bulls, the ones living across the street in the bootleg fenced-in pasture, which are constantly breaking out of their bootleg fence, so we put up a decent fence to keep them out. You’d think their owners would get the whole good fence / bootleg fence concept—digressing)
–the mail carrier pops the mail in the box and takes off.
“Well nice to see you too” I think to myself as I open the box in order to retrieve the mail.

Sitting on top of the mail is one of those “sorry we missed you” cards stating I have a registered parcel which they couldn’t deliver because I was not home.
WHAT???
Are you freaking kidding me?!
Heeellloooooo, here I was and here I am!!!!!
I was at the gate, just about to open it to met the carrier!!
They never pulled into the driveway, just popped it all in the box and quickly took off!!
They had to see me coming up the driveway—I was in broad day light and a clear visible shot!!
Great.

I hurry back to the house, picking up the phone, I call the post office.
My wrist is still bleeding.
The number is busy for about 5 attempts, finally I get a person.
A very unfriendly person.
I explain what happened and that I was just about to meet the carrier, when they took off.
“Could you radio them to come back letting them know that I am here and was trying to met them?”
“Name. Address. OK”
“OK? OK as in you’re going to radio them or OK, what. . .?!”
“Yes” click
What is it with the postal folks??

I proceed to actually go outside in order to sit, in plain view–remember the trees are now gone—you can’t miss me, nobody misses me!
I proceed to wait, and wait and wait.
Finally the mail truck pulls down the driveway.
“I thought you saw me on my way to meet you”
“You always keep those gates closed?”
Oh great, a new carrier.
“Well not always, but we do prefer to keep those bulls out of our yard”
“You need to sign the card”
“uh, do you have a pen I could use?”

Reluctantly handing me a pen, I sign the card, hand it back to her as the happy carrier (note my sarcasm) hands me my parcel.
“Thank you” I mutter as she drives off into the sunset. . .

Sunset?
Yes, sunset- – -remember they changed the freaking time on me.
The sun is starting it’s decent, as in it’s now later, or is it earlier???
No matter, all I know is that this Monday is soon setting and I couldn’t be happier!!
And yes, I’m still bleeding.

Here’s to Tuesday, and Wednesday, and Thursday and, well you get the point!

As seen on the web:

Dear Monday,
I want to break up.
I’m seeing Tuesday and
Dreaming about Friday.
Sincerely, it’s not me, it’s you.