Friday, February 17, 2012

Midwinter Mish Mash

The loin roast coated with herbs in the meat rub is in the oven upstairs. The aroma is drifting downstairs to the office. I will be halving it to take part to Katherine’s tonight. She is busy conducting interviews for a night aide. I have been busy telephoning and setting up appointments for her.

I wish everyone had read Zig Zigler’s advice to answer the telephone pleasantly. It is disconcerting how many people yell “Hello” in a loud ugly voice and then change to a much better sounding voice when you explain why you are phoning. (I am telling myself to learn from this. Do I always answer pleasantly after I have rushed to stop what I am doing in the kitchen and get over to the phone knowing it may be a telemarketer?)

This experience reminds me of a dear friend of mine, who died just a few years ago in a mental hospital. I had been warned she could be dangerous, and I visited her alone in a room with the door locked, and for the first time realized she was a big woman. Fortunately even then she was as always kind to me.

Although she was 20 years or more younger, I appreciated much she taught me. This was before she became mentally ill. I had confided once how I hated having the phone interrupt when I was stressed with time pressures trying to get a task done. She advised me to pray as I ran to the phone.

One day I was on my hands and knees mopping the tile entry hall when the phone rang. I put my wet cleaning cloth back in the hot water, wiped my wet hands on my jeans, stood up and started to the nearest phone two rooms away. I remembered to pray, as Barbara had taught me. I picked up the phone as I finished my prayer and loudly said, “Amen.” I can’t remember who was calling or how I explained my strange answer.

Oh. I had to stop yesterday and did not finish what I started above. Now at the end of the week, let me complete this blog.

Half way through winter, we really have not had a very full schedule in many ways nor many guests coming to Woodsong. I do expect a grandson this afternoon. Jeannie and Cecelie will be stopping by tonight on their way to Nashville for Leslie’s wedding gown fitting tomorrow. Yet our new dog Jake and other mundane responsibilities have kept us busy. That is the explanation for the title to this blog. Nothing big to write about, but everyday life and ordinary day-to-day routine goes on.

One constant this winter has been enjoying the many birds at the feeder on the deck: chickadees, juncos, sparrows, a new woodpecker, and best of all for the first time since moving here, a large number of red birds. A small slender black bird with a brown head showed up for the first time this winter yesterday. I remember finding out what kind of bird that was last winter, but I can’t recall it.

We have had a usually mild winter, but I suspect we will still have some snow and ice before spring. Tuesday night I was planning on going to Katherine’s when we had icy roads that made me change my mind. I went to bed thinking the kids in the community would finally get their first snow day the next morning. Gerald surprised me next morning by explaining it had turned warm over night and ice had melted away. It has been warm ever since although the fog was extreme this morning.

Because of busyness, I have not always been able to attend functions I usually attend, but I have made it to Southern Illinois Writers Guild so for this year. SIWG was created by staff at John A. Logan College in 1981 and has always met there at night—eventually as a hybrid student and community organization. Perhaps because of insurance or other reasons, the college has recently had to insist on enforcing the rule that a faculty adviser must be present at meetings.

After losing a couple of long-time advisers, we had breathed a sigh of relief when we found an advisor who would come back to campus at night. We also worked at recruiting students. We have had many student members and several student officers in the past—but they move on as they finish college and we need to regularly recruit new student members. Then suddenly our newest advisor could not meet with us, so we have been scrambling to find a new spot to meet.

Last month we were invited to meet at the new Morthland College in West Frankfort, and I enjoyed that since I had been curious about the new school. But even though located on Main Street, the sign was small and the store-front building deceptive. One member, who had driven a long way to attend, never found the meeting place.

This month Bruce Cline arranged for us to meet in the very nice fellowship hall at the First Methodist Church in Carterville, which is more central for more members. Some landmarks were giving in the directions as well as the street address. We plan to meet there until June, but we anticipate a new arrangement with John A. Logan to be an adult education class starting summer semester. We all prefer the simplicity and comfort of meeting at the college with lots of lighted parking and familiar surroundings.

Although attendance so far has been small at these two off-campus locales, we really had a good time last night. Charlotte Hartley came all the way from Centralia and was the only one who brought readings for critique. After we accomplished that, we were stimulated by her writing. Consequently, we were able to get acquainted better in the small group than is usual. We shared much about our lives, Karen Weinert’s work with the Women’s Center in Carbondale, and, oh yes, some stories about encounters with ghosts—by people who did not believe in ghosts.

Nothing much going on and much too much going on. That is the story of our winter’s mish mash so far this season.

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