fractured

“You look closely enough,
you’ll find that everything has a weak spot where it can break,
sooner or later.”

Anthony Hopkins

Fractures well cured make us more strong.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

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(the culprit to the fractured windshield / Julie Cook / 2016)

The phone rang early…
it was before 8 and I was in the shower.
Well actually both phones were ringing at once…my cell phone and the good ol landline.
That’s when you know it’s bad…ringing phones in stereo.

Our life has been rather topsy turvy as of late so phones ringing, really before one expects, tends to send me automatically into mobilizing the troops, manning the torpedoes and battening down the hatches mode.

Dripping wet while frantically grabbing a towel I see that the caregiver is on one phone and Dad is on another. For just the slightest millisecond I debate…hummmmm, get back in the shower and pretend life is golden or bite the bullet and answer the damn phones….

Long story short—how is still unclear, but they both fell—-into one another, which is still a bit unclear, and both were down for the count.
Dad, the turtle of the two—when on his back isn’t getting up without help.
Miraculously however, he did manage to get up and get to the door to let the frantic caregiver in who had just arrived for the day.
My stepmother however…she was truly down for the count and was not getting up.

“Do I call the ambulance????” the caregiver asks in one ear as Dad wants to know if he needs to push the life alert button he wears religiously around his neck in my other ear.
Somewhere in my brain I’m thinking both of these people are in the same room, why are they both calling me when I think one of them could handle calling while the other one panics?!
Well since I’m a good hour and a half away, still wringing wet, I’m going with 911.

The short end of this tale is that my stepmother “fractured” her wrist and is in cast and sling.
Dad is still confused as to how “this arm,” as he points to his right arm, came around and knocked into my stepmother, sending her and him to the ground.

“That’s your story Dad and you’re sticking to it??” I flatly inquire.

My suspicion is Dad, at 5 feet nine inches and 185 lbs, got up out of his chair, turned, lost his balance and fell into her–all 5 feet 1 inches and 98 pounds worth.

After racing (an oxymoron word) to Atlanta for the second time this week, dealing with this latest ambulance ride and ER visit, where I am certain they now know my stepmother by name, I got everything and everyone settled and readied for the ride back home… as deja vu is the current theme with me and Atlanta.
I tell Dad that I think we need to consider 24 hour care and or they will have to move to a facility that can look after them 24/7.
He vehemently balked at that idea…

Back in the car and back on the interstate for the umpteenth time this week, I didn’t see it or even hear it…yet there it was…a strange black line on my windshield..
“What the….”
Thinking maybe a piece of pine straw was stuck on the windshield, I watch the pine straw snake it’s way along my windshield.

The pine straw was no longer that and my fear was confirmed… my windshield was indeed “fractured”

Great.

A fractured stepmother and a fractured windshield…..

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(must have been a Ga Tech rock as it hit right at the UGA sticker)

The good thing is that she will heal, allbeit slowly as 88 year old bones are brittle, fragile and slow to grow back…

I read on an orthopedic page that…

“Broken bone ends heal by “knitting” back together with new bone being formed around the edge of the broken parts.”

Which mind you is pretty darn cool—that our broken bones can regenerate.

My windshield, for a hefty little price, can also be miraculously repaired–as the glass folks are scheduled to come out and replace it tomorrow.

As I continue to contemplate this day’s whole fractured theme, and how we have recently dealt with a deeper fracture than that….
there are those fractures of the physical that run in and out of our lives…
I marvel over the Master Physician and His ability to heal all of the fractures of our lives—
those outward appearing breaks as well as those unseen internal breaks.

It’s just a matter of asking for His tender care…as well as allowing Him access to our “breaks”

Here’s to our regenerated healing…..

Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he saved them from their distress.
He sent out his word and healed them;
he rescued them from the grave.
Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for mankind.

Psalm 107:19-21

I am soooo over it. . .I am done!!!!

There is only one day left, always starting over:
it is given to us at dawn and taken away from us at dusk.

Jean-Paul Sartre

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(a southern dogface butterfly visits a freshly planted petunia / Julie Cook / 2015)

Don’t panic. . .
It’s Summer, I’m talking about Summer. . .
As in I’m done with it. . .
I’m over it. . .
As in kaput, fini, over and out!!

Actually. . .I’m talking about heat, hot, drying and dying—the tiresome end of all that was once lush, plump and thriving.

In late August, here in this deep South of mine, there is no thriving and there is barely any surviving.
Everything is leggy, yellow and very near death.
And mind you, there is many a day, during this particular time of year, that I feel very much the same.

The little flower bed, just out from our front door, had been full of snapdragons and petunias that were planted back in early Spring when the yard was overhauled.
Had any one asked me, I would not have chosen petunias—I’m just not a fan, but nobody asked me and my husband thought they looked nice. I had to go back in later, as the late frosts of Spring did a number on the petunias, so I threw in some snapdragons in order to fill the gaps. I wasn’t keen on the snapdragons either but I knew they were pretty darn hardy—

Pink snapdragons and crimson petunias.
Not my idea of color choices but again, nobody asked me.

The tiny plants did begin to thrive. . .
Filling out and covering nicely the little flower bed the landscape guys had decided to create for me.
Had I had my druthers, I would have moved the bed, enlarged it and done it a bit differently—
but again, nobody asked me.
The landscape guys had put out some very pretty pine straw all over the yard in the newly formed beds and then for some reason they added bark to the little flower bed.

We had bark once.

It washed like nobody’s business whenever it rained.
I would have a river of bark racing down the front walk requiring scooping and sweeping up after every down pour.
I was done with bark.
However the landscapers were into contrast when they were laying out the yard and again, nobody asked me.

So bark it was and bark it is.

As the Summer has worn on, like a tired old moth-eaten wool overcoat, the petunias and snapdragons have been rapidly approaching their limit. Long, tall, leggy, yellowing, more vine than leaf, shriveled and grossly unsightly. . .I could no longer stand to look at the flower bed without feeling a great sense of anxiety. . .with a touch of disgust added in.

For weeks I’ve been telling myself “not much longer. . .September is almost here. . .then you’ll be able to pull up all that crap and replant it all with some fresh wonderful crisp fall magic.”
Yes, I’ve told myself that for many weeks now.

A tiny cold front passed through the state last night–and please note I use the words cold and front with much rolling of the eyes. . .
I will admit that it did actually drop our temps to the mid 60’s this morning.
Never mind that the high was still 90ish–I’m taking that smidge of crisp and I’m running with it. . .all the way to the local the garden center.

This entire week will see me at dads, doctors, dentists so if I was going to act, it had to be today.
The only problem was that the garden center really doesn’t have in crisp fall magic yet.
They still have in hot summer same ol same ol. . .
No matter–I would make do.

I got home with my assortment of trays.
When I thought I was grabbing some pansies, I was actually grabbing trays of petunias as well as a couple of trays of snapdragons—as in been there done that, it’s too early for violas and pansies so AGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh well, no matter, they’re purple and white and they’ll do until the garden center gets in its fall crisp magic.

I chose white because I like white.
I wear a lot of black, as I like to say it hides a wealth of woe, so I suppose I like it’s opposite as in I think white looks elegant. Never mind when the white elegant blooms die, turning a sickly shade of brown and falling off–I’m sticking with elegant—
And purple because the butterflies like the purple butterfly bushes I recently put out.
I had told the landscapers I wanted some butterfly bushes—
Surprise, I didn’t get any.
Lest we remember that no one was asking and obviously no one was listening. . .

So I spent the remainder of my day cutting all the leggy spent petunias and snapdragons–leaving 3 clumps that still seemed to be “ok”
I then raked off the tired dry grey bark from the bed.
Next I spread a big ol heavy sack of soil—all over the red Georgia clay that makes up the bed.
I had wanted the landscapers to add topsoil to all the excavated ground but remember, no one was listening.
I put in two dwarf fountain grass—
why you ask—
because they caught my eye on the way to the checkout register–
I think we call that an impulse buy. . .however not to fear, I liked them.
I added my trays of the new petunias and snapdragons—experiencing a bit of deja vu as I did so.
I watered, re-spread the tired grey bark- – – but no matter as it now matches the once pretty red supple pine straw the landscapers had put out, which is now dull, crunchy and grey.

One good last watering and I was happy—well, happier than I was.
I’ll really be happy when it’s finally fall crisp and magical. . .

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(work)

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(more work)

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(leggy and spent)

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(better)

A season of texture and tones

The true worth of a man is not to be found in man himself, but in the colours and textures that come alive in others.”
Albert Schweitzer

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(Pinecones from Dad’s yard, along with a fungus covered dead branch, Julie Cook 2013)

With the rapidly approaching official arrival of winter we are, no doubt, beginning to feel as if we are spiraling into a type of color withdrawal. Gone are the beautiful scarlets, golds and burnt oranges of Autumn; gone are the golden swaying wheat fields and the intoxicatingly beautiful jasmine and honeysuckle of Summer; gone are the vibrant explosives reds, blues, greens and lavenders, of Spring. For in this deep slumbering shadow of the calendar, we are left with an empty void of nothingness, or for some, a giant blanket of white encasing every living and non-living thing as far as the eye can see.

Yet in this perceived void of lacking and emptiness, there remains a very important component to our field of vision, for suddenly open for the entire world to view, the earth lies naked before both creature and man— exposed, unprotected and vulnerable. Gone are the colorful coverings of flowers and leaves which act as accessorizing baubles and wrappings. Gone are the tall grasses and heavy ladened branches bearing fruit and flower. What remains is an intricately woven skeletal system, the undercarriage of our natural world.

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Cautiously, and a bit weary, we peer out upon this barren landscape, sad and forlorn, fearing that we are doomed to grey gloomy skies, long dark nights and a lack of visual stimulation. But thankfully a slow hesitant joy begins to claim our mood, for upon closer inspection we realize that we are not the helpless victims of Loss and Void, but rather we discover that we have been granted a tiny treasured lagniappe, a treat for all of our senses, for spread out majestically before us is a different type of visual splendor—one which appears more delicate and almost fragile than what had departed–for here, in what we now find at our grasp, is beauty in its most basic simplicity.

Branches, limbs, sticks, stones, straw, bark, cones and moss—these are the bare essentials which Nature generously offers to our visually weary senses. Wonderfully we rejoice for we now know that we have not been flung out helplessly to fester in a world of monotones and dull eyed death. Here in this seemingly cold and barren world– beauty is to be had, to be seen and to be touched. The visual wonders still abound.

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These visual treasures are not the garish over the top harlots of those previous seasons, but rather these beauties remain understated, subtle and quiet. They speak of structure, shape, texture and tone offering us a tactile reminder that our visual needs have not been forgotten. Old man Winter may be hard and harsh, but he is not unkind. As you fight the deep calling to venture outside to a world of cold wind, freezing rain and gloomy grays, do not be discouraged—Nature knows your need and she has provided.

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Getting back up in the saddle

“Grandmother, what big eyes you have…

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(Photograph: praying mantis helping Julie trim the bushes/ Julie’s yard/ 2013)

…all the better to see you with my dear….”

As you can see from the above little caption, I have been pruning some overgrown bushes—things looked great back in the Spring…. Then remember there was that little mishap, or should I say mis-step—and suddenly there was “The Drainage ditch, the ER and a broken cookie”…remember that…eh? I shutter recalling it all….d@%n boot cast!!

Well, since the lovely Spring has come and gone, back when things were new and green, complete with the freshly strewn pine straw…which gave way to those cast filled 6 weeks of living a learning curve….well, things in the yard have gotten, shall we say, rather shabby. I will confess that I did turn my attention to the garden (that big soggy disaster which was at least flat), having had my bait of the bushes and that blasted pine straw—-Did you know that the last bail of straw I dropped, before stepping in that blasted drainage ditch, is still right where I left it under the tree??!! I think my husband has left if there purposely to taunt me…he filled the ditch you know, but there sits that sad looking bail mocking me… oohhh the injustice of it all…..

Then came the Summer of the monsoons, which seemed to come upon us so unexpectedly …wait, I know what you’re thinking …”Julie, I thought you lived in the deep south, there’s no monsoon season down there…” Would you like to bet?! That is if I was a beating woman—oh and speaking of… how do you like the DAWGS this Saturday over those little tigers of Clemson??? GO DAWGS….oh there I go digressing again….

I’m rambling on so because I need for you to be thinking about me today…I’ve gotten the four wheeler out, my little red cart is ready for pulling, rakes, hedge timers, clippers are all a go and now I’m heading back out—out to the abandoned straw, the bushes and the memories of a drainage ditch, the ER and a broken cookie—I’ve always believed that if you fall off your horse, you need to get back up and ride—well, I’m getting ready to “ride” today—-just pray there is no repeat visit to the ER….
Happy Trails

Having a bad day?

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I was watering the plants when I spotted this guy/gal struggling a bit.

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Not only was this bee just sitting in the pine straw, it managed to get doused by the watering of the plants. I have never seen one with the odd yellow colored eyes. As I am no entomologist, I have no clue as to what was the bee’s troubles. Perhaps all the pollinating had done him/ her in–form the pollen count we’ve been averaging lately, I think we’ve all been done in—ode to springtime allergies……