Courtesy at the H-E-B

kindness-is-contagiousI went to the H-E-B grocery store yesterday.  As sometimes happens, I was really tired and drove the little electric cart around to pick up the items I needed.   This happens a few times a year–when I hurt or exhausted–and every time I think I need to write about how rude people are to the handicapped.   So, here I go.

Many able-bodied people (a pejorative in some circles) see a person in a wheelchair or the electric mobility aid and think, “Slow.  Must get ahead of.  Must get around.”   I have seen shoppers actually hurdle the feet of people in wheelchairs or dash in front of me so I have to hit reverse suddenly so I don’t run over them.   It’s as if there were a race with money riding on who got the loaf of bread and carried it to check-out first.  Why?

Even worse than the shoppers who do this are the workers there who have nearly pushed me out of the way in their haste.   I’m a woman of little patience but I’ve learned it in the grocery store because otherwise I’d probably start yelling profanities.   Yes, I write the sweet books in which the characters don’t use those words, but I have heard them and I could use them.

So I beg of you, concede the right-of-way or wait and please don’t run in front of handicapped people.  It shows more about you than you might think and teaches your children a negative lesson.

What can shoppers do to help?  At first, when people in front of me in the check out lane asked if they could unload my cart for me, I was insulted.  I can take care of myself, thank you.   Now I appreciate the offer and accept it.

Also, if there’s something on a high shelf or in a freezer case, offer assistance.  I can stand on my own but getting up and down often is painful and many in wheelchairs cannot.    We can always turn you down but I’m always grateful for the possibility.

Treat handicapped people as you treat anyone else.  I have a brain.  Talk to me.  Don’t ask my friend if I want something.   Ask me.

Wander around the store to see if it seems accessible and tell the manager if it’s not.  Today I’m calling my local H-E-B because in the bakery department, many small tables had been set up to display items, so many that I had great trouble getting around.  I had to back down aisles, move back and forth to make a turn.  If I’d been going straight, the aisles were wide enough but having to turn, no.

What else can you thing of?   I’d like to add to the list.

 

Baseball and my lack of a moral compass

10610469_10152750714193373_7906439356951706763_nI loved baseball all my life–until the strike.

My father loved nearly all sports and started taking me to games when I was three or four.  My family spent cool autumn Saturdays in Lawrence, Kansas, attending University of Kansas games and drove from Kansas City to Lawrence once a week during basketball season to watch the Hawks.

In the summer, we went to Kansas City Blues games–minor league baseball–until the Athletics came.  I even interviewed the manager of the A’s for my high school newspaper.  When the A’s left for California, I became a Royals fan and, because we lived in Hays, Kansas, for five years, we went to several games every summer.  I was in the stands when George Brett was hitting .385.   During tornado warnings–which came weeklin in Western Kansas–we sat in the basement and listened to games.

George’s favorite story was when I was sitting next to two men who were keeping score and arguing about a play and if a player should get an RBI.  I leaned over and said, “The run scored on an error so it was an unearned run and no RBI.”

Then the strike hit in 1994 and  World Series was cancelled.  I was irate.  Furious.  I mean, really, really angry.   I vowed, “If you’re going to take away my World Series, I’m not going to another game.”   I kept that vow for  years.

For years, once a week George would look at the standings in the newspaper and say, “You don’t want me to tell you about the Royals.”   I didn’t ask.

Then, last year, the Royals started doing well and hooked me only to break my heart.  This year, I got interested after the All-Star break although I could only watch games with Texas teams.  Others were blacked out.

And I discovered something terrible about myself.   I had not stopped being a baseball fan due to a moral stand.   I no longer watched baseball because the Royals were a terrible team.  Yes, I have to confess this:  I am a fair-weather fan.  I also want to confess I’m having a lot of fun this post season!

Lessons from a move are never learned. They just fade away . . .

As I look back, here’s what I’ve learned with this move

images1)  Moving is even worse than I remembered.   I didn’t want to move. Before I made that decision,  I recalled that every move I’ve made–except those way back when I possessed so little everything  fit in the trunk of my car–has been horrible.  One of my friends said that God did everything to get me to move and that took a great deal but, fortunately, God’s will is omnipotently stronger than mine.

2)    I never give away enough when I downsize.   When George and I moved from the house at Buchanan Dam with a shed and carport, I had that planned out with a place for every piece of furniture marked with tape.   But not on this move.   I’d given so much away, I felt sure there would be plenty of room.  Somehow over the two months before I moved here, the apartment got smaller.  As the movers brought in boxes, they laughed, a lot, about how I was going to get these piles of boxes into this much smaller place.  I had to call a junk company to carry off a large piece of the computer desk so I could move from my study to my bed without having to climb over furniture.   I’ve also made several trips to the Salvation Army with the trunk of my car full of little stuff.  And all those baskets I mentioned in an earlier blog?  I hope the Salvation Army has use for about twenty of them.

3)  Friends are wonderful.  Many, many thanks to those who gave of their time and muscles and boxes to help.  I couldn’t have done without them.

Yes, I’m here and am thrilled by the new possibilities.  I feel safer with an extra level of security.  In the previous apartment, the turnover was so great, I didn’t know anyone but the noisy neighbors overhead who delighted in bothering  the old witch downstairs    Here, there are no hyperactive children or crazily macho fathers and the soundproofing is great.   The pool is larger and heated and there are people who want to get to know their neighbors.  

What I’ve learned is that moving can take me to a better place and I’m really happy about that.  What doesn’t make me so happy is that moving takes three months out of my life every time!

Any uplifting stories of moves you’d like to share?

 

My life by tote bags

toteIn an earlier blog, I mentioned my problems with organization, how I use baskets and notebooks and colors to keep track of all my stuff and what I should be doing.   In THE MATCHMAKERS OF BUTTERNUT CREEK, Gussie uses different totes for the various sections of her life.  Yes, I took that from my life.  I had one tote for school–a very large one–another for church, and many others for volunteer activities.

Today, I mostly use my totes for shopping and realize anyone looking at them would learn a great deal about my life.   One is from an anniversary of the founding of my college sorority at Kansas State.  Whenever I carry that, I make sure my hair looks good, my shirt is clean, and my shoes don’t look too ugly.  I do that because living here in Austin, I fear a young collegiate Theta will see me and think, “I didn’t think alums looked that bad.”

I have another with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) logo on it.  This is a communion chalice on a St. Andrews Cross.  That cross is on its side and looks like the letter X which causes people to ask me if I’m a member of the temperance league.

Another tote has this written on it:  “My  hero can kick your hero’s . . .”  Well, I’ll allow you to fill that in so I won’t insult any readers.   I have totes with Romance Writers of America conference themes and one with the symbol of one of my publishers, all of which might tip people off that I’m a writer.

Many years ago, my dear mother-in-law gave me a tote with “Cats and Books” on it.  That pretty well fills in my other interests:  pets and reading.

What’s your favorite tote?  What does it tell people about you?

Cats do the darndest stuff

When I moved into my new apartment, I realized there is no ceiling fan–the first room I’ve seem without one since we moved to the South nearly thirty years ago.   I bought myself a small fan to put on the table next to me.,  Oddly, this fascinates the cats when it’s on.  Of course they like to have the breeze blowing in their faces but, even more, they love the taste of the fan.  It’s plastic.  When it’s on, they lick it and lick it.   Fortunately, they can’t get their tongues inside the grill–well, until Maggie, the timid, quiet cat, attempted to bite off the plastic grill.    I don’t allow that.  For her safety, I turn the fan off when I’m out of the room.   When I see her chewing, I give her a little push and say, “No”–cats always respond so well to “No”–but this does not deter her.

Okay, all you cat people out there, please help.  Why does she do this and how to stop her?   Please do not lecture me on the danger involved–I understand this.  I’d just like some insight into her tiny brain.

Seven years ago, George made a rope at one of the craft centers in Vacation Bible School.  He brought it home and gave it to Scooter, his gorgeous and self-centered cat.  Scooter loved it.  Why would a cat like a six-foot length of handmade rope?   This soon became like worry beads to Scooter.  When he’s upset or feels abandoned, he drags the rope around the apartment and makes the saddest, most heart-rending meows you’ve ever heard.  When I’m gone, I can tell if he’s felt alone because the rope has been moved from one room to another.

So, another questions for you cat people:  Why does a cat drag a rope around when he’s sad?

Many thanks to all for helping me understand feline behavior.

Domestic violence

This was not the blog I’d planned to post today but it became obvious this morning that it’s one I have to post.

When the video of Ray Rice pulling the limp body of Janay Palmer, his fiancée–his unconscious fiancée and the mother of his only child–from an elevator first appeared, I was appalled at the lack of outrage.   His coach said Rice is a good guy, a man of character  who made a mistake, the mistake being that he punched his fiancée out and left her unconscious.    The NFL answered with a resounding lack of horror at the act or concern for the victim:  a two-game suspension.  No one asked, “What happened in that elevator?  Why did the man who professes to love and should protect this woman from harm–why did he have to pull her out of the elevator?  Why was she unconscious?   Had the football star knocked her out?”

Even more incomprehensible:   she was accused of a crime, obviously for having her face in the way of Ray Rice’s fist.  She apologized for her behavior during a press conference, again for blocking her fiancé’s fist with her face.

Then the tape of the blow appeared yesterday.  From comments on news programs, it’s been around for a while but never made public, never used in the court case against Mr. Rice.  It shows the now Mrs. Rice walking ahead of her fiancé into the elevator.  She looks at him and gives him a shove and her beloved punches her so hard, she immediately loses consciousness and falls to the floor, her head hitting the railing of the elevator as she fell.

Only then did people say, “Maybe knocking a woman out isn’t acceptable behavior for anyone, even if he makes the team and the city and the NFL rich.”  After seeing that tape, his teammates  who had supported Rice after seeing the tape of him with his unconscious fiancée finally admitted that perhaps this was serious, that perhaps they had supported a man who brutalized a woman, supported him because he was, after all, a good guy.  Finally, with the knowledge of what happened when a heavily muscled athlete assaulted his fiancée, actions anyone who saw him dragging from the elevator HAD to have known happened–then these men decided he hadn’t just made an error.  He’d committed a crime for which he’ll never be charged because the case was quickly tidied up and he entered a program which consisted of no jail time but counseling.

What does this say about the status of women in America?  Oh, yes, I know men are assaulted but the great majority of those assaulted are women beaten by males larger than they or more violent than they and–especially if those men are wealthy or important or talented or have connections–it’s okay.  It’s a private matter between the woman and her assailant.   And all to often, those who benefit from the talent or money or connections close rank, blame the woman, and say the abuser is a nice guy.

Sadly and amazingly, this abused woman, Janay Palmer Rice, sees no problem with her husband’s behavior but that’s a topic I won’t go into because there aren’t enough words to explain this.

What are your thoughts?

Next week. . .

I have moved.  The apartment is a mess.  I’d planned to write a blog this week about what I’ve learned through this move.  As you may notice, I didn’t get that done.

Next week, I promise.  If you have any thoughts about what you’ve learned about moving, let me know.  Maybe I’ll include them.  Maybe they’ll must make me feel better that we are all united in this.

Lessons I haven’t learned

About twenty years ago, I hurt my foot somehow.  When I went to the doctor’s office to have it checked, the receptionist who sat behind an open counter that was at least four feet high asked me, “Where’s the injury.”

To the amazement of the office staff,  I swung my foot up, rested it on the counter, pointed, and said, “My right foot.”

You know, that counter may have ben higher.  Maybe even five or six feet.

When I broke my toe a week ago, I discovered I can’t do that anymore.   Knowing I had to soak my foot, I put ice and water in the bathroom sink and attempted the same move at a much lower level.   I’m lucky I didn’t cause myself serious injury.   To the accompaniment of  many creaking joints and a fet grunts and screams, I was able to shove my foot into the water but worried the entire time I’d never be able to get it out again.

Lesson:   One cannot do everything one did twenty years ago.  However, I also know that one can do things that one couldn’t do twenty years ago such as publishing ten books.

This morning, I stubbed my broken toe.   Ouch!

Lesson:   people with broken toes should wear shoes.  However, I don’t like shoes and love to go barefoot which suggests more pain.

What lessons have you been taught that you refuse to accept?

Did aliens set my listening choices?

I don’t know why but I seem to attract weirdness, odd events, strange actions.

Last week, I took my Mazda to the dealer’s for its yearly check up.   When I got the car back, I drove off and turned the radio on, expecting my normal NPR programming.  Static.  I punched a button to change the station to my NPR music station.    More static.  I tried my country station and my oldies station.  I have only four stations saved because I’m old and I know what I like.  Yes, static on both of those.

So I hit some other buttons and discovered the only stations that had been saved were Christian music.   I have nothing against Christian music but it appeared after my tastes were set and it’s not the music of my choice.

My thought is that the mechanic working on my car noticed the stations I had saved and thought I must be a godless commie because I listen to NPR and decided to save my soul by adding five Christian stations to the dial.

Perhaps I’m paranoid.  I’ve been known to be.  However the change seems a little suspicious to me.   I deleted the stations someone set for me and found three of my favorite four.   Sadly, I can’t find the NPR music but, hey, I don’t drive that much anymore and I can always listen to Garrison Keeler CDs.

Next week, I’ll blog about the little girl I found standing completely alone in front of my apartment.  Another weird event.  And, sorry, no pictures.  My iMax won’t let me add any.

Why in the world did I ever keep that?

imagesAs I sort and toss and pack, I wonder, “Has that always looked so bad?”   Yesterday, this thought came because of the breadbox which I’ve had for probably twenty years.    It’s dirty and just plain ugly.  Yes, I could wash it but ugly can’t be fixed.    Also, I no longer eat much bread, certainly not enough to take up a few feet of counter space.   George did.  He liked different flavors of bread.  But not me.  It’s in the back of the car to take to Goodwill in case they believe it’s salvageable.

Perhaps finding old stuff that has gradually become unsightly is a way of telling us, “Hey, you’re getting old” or nagging us, “Time to move on.”

Many years ago, we were attempting to sell our house.  We’d had the sofa for a long time and knew the fabric underneath and concealing the springs had torn and brushed against the carpet.  Probably a cat had enjoyed pulling herself along with that.   For whatever reason, the dangling cloth didn’t bother us.   It DID bother the real estate agent.  As soon as he walked in, he said, “Get rid of that sofa.”   I asked, “Won’t the room look odd without it?”  He said, “Not as bad as it does now.”

And perhaps that’s a positive outcome of a move: we can get rid of the stuff that shows wear, that reminds us time is passing but also reminds us for a few minutes of good memories.