The road ends, but the journey continues...

Tag: south carolina (Page 2 of 3)

Yes, we have no banana (boxes)

Just got back from an aggressive search for free packing boxes from a variety of grocery (and non-grocery) stores. Grabbed a few that were offered, but quite frankly the pickin’s are slim.
It’s time to ramp up the packing from passive to serious, while still maintaining a sense of functionality around the growing stacks of boxes in this 1000 square foot rental we currently call home.
I’ve been buying a few cardboard boxes here and there for ‘specials’ and then a few of those ubiquitous plastic bins for clothes and other items needing more protection during the moving process. But I’ll be darned if I’ll buy boxes for books, DVDs, CDs, office stuff, eating utensils or other such miscellany.
I’m no neophyte when it comes to packing and moving. In fact, my latest efforts were utilized over a period of two years of settling Dad’s estate and getting that house* ready to sell.
So, call me nonplussed when I learned banana boxes (my favorite freebie box of choice) are no longer available for use to the general public.
Say what? I mean, I had no problems getting them right up to the end of selling Ma & Dad’s house last year.
What’s the deal?
According to the customer service lady at Food Lion, all banana boxes are now returned to the banana distribution company for credit. Fine. Good idea. Better than tearing them down and sending them off to some non-existent recycling center (personal soap box…not for now).
But strange to encounter such forward thinking here** in a place where it is very difficult to recycle basic items like aluminum cans, glass, plastic and paper. Oh, we have a bin where we’re to place all recyclables in together for weekly curbside pick-up. But after several tries, our street here in FloTown doesn’t seem to have the clout of other neighborhoods around town.
Let’s just say, I’ve seen the regular garbage guys simply dump the recycle bin contents into the regular garbage truck…not just our carefully selected to-be-recycled items, but our neighbors’ bins as well.
Needless to say (yes, Camden Writers, I am using this phrase intentionally) I no longer fool with the extra effort involved with sorting and cleaning items for the recycle bin.
I mention this because it added to the nonplussed-ness I felt with the stellar actions of the Food Lion to deal with disposal/recycling of their banana boxes.
I know this is a sort of dorky blog post, but I think of it as a public service to my fellow future packers and movers. Alerting you to the fact that “Yes, we have no  banana boxes” and the need to scrounge out other freebie boxes.
Oh and yes, we are moving…been in the works for awhile – but that’s a story for another time, a ‘public service’ notification for another blog post!
~~
*  in Lakewood, CO
** in Florence, SC

Yom HaShoah – Holocaust Remembrance Day 2019

Holocaust Memorial - Beth Israel Congregation - Florence, SC

Holocaust Memorial – Beth Israel Congregation – Florence, SC

Some of the symbolism of the memorial as explained on the Beth Israel Congregation Website:

  • Yellow Star of David – This universal symbol of Judaism was perverted by the Nazis. Jews were instructed to wear a yellow star on the outside of their clothing so that they could be instantly recognized, and shamed. Many Jews, however, and others of different communities, wore the star as a badge of pride, asserting that despite it all, they proudly clung to Israel’s covenant with God.
  • Outline of the Ten Commandments Tablet – Beth Israel uses this symbol on the doors of the Holy Ark in the Sanctuary, and the opening words of the Ten Commandments are on the back wall of the Sanctuary. It is used here to tie the Memorial to the life of our congregation.
  • Memorial Wording – The Hebrew word below the outline of the ten commandments reads HA-SHO-AH, the Holocaust. It is the word chosen by world Jewery to express the horror of the death of six-million of our brothers and sisters in Nazi Europe. The following words were edited from “Gates of Repentance” the prayer book used for our High Holiday worship.
  • Posts and Chain – These were added to the Memorial to represent the guard towers and the fences surrounding the extermination camps.
  • Gray Gravel – Spread at the base of the Memorial, the gravel, and the particular color chosen, are a sad reminder of the ashes of those Holocaust victims who were killed and cremated, their ashes left to blow to the corners of the earth.
  • The Memorial Stone – Thrusting upward, the stone stands proudly to indicate that Jews and Judaism have survived; will continue to do so; still reach for God, for human perfection and for God’s Kingdom here on earth. In our quest for God, we affirm that the victims of the Holocaust shall never be forgotten. In our quest for God, we affirm that it is our personal responsibility to cry out for all who suffer at human hands. (emphasis mine)

just dropping By to say Hi

Okay-Okay, I’m still on my blogging break, but what say you to a quick hello?

Perhaps a bulleted update will suffice:

2003 Toyota Camry, 400K 12/28/2018

Our 2003 Toyota Camry – 400K 12/28/2018


400K reached at MM 64, I10W on hubby's 64th Birthday

400K reached at mile marker 64, I10W on hubby’s 64th Birthday!

  • Our 2003 Toyota Camry reached 400K on hubby’s 64th birthday at mile marker 64 on I10W about 40 miles south of El Paso, TX while we were driving on our way to CA from SC for the Rose Parade…turns out, that trip also counts as a literal ‘coast-to-coast’ roadtrip. Interesting, eh?
  • The Rose Parade was not as great as last year’s, but still nice to experience in person. Plus, we just like the West Coast better than the East Coast (no offense intended, just personal preference).
  • We switched health insurance companies the beginning of this year. Not only have our monthly premiums and deductibles gone down by an incredible amount, but the procedure that was denied on our old plan yet aggressively deemed as a medical necessity by my doctor is now 100% covered and approved on this new plan. So, I’m slated for my long overdue foot surgery on Tuesday. The worst part about this is that I’ll be unable to continue my meager exercise routine for several weeks and I’m already starting out at my Winter Weight High…mostly due to all those days in the car traveling cross-country. 🙁 The best part is that I probably won’t be aware enough to really care about whatever happens during the State of the Union Address! No, really, the best part is that I’ll be in tip-top shape to take on my normal rigorous hiking routine when we get back to*…Oh, I’m getting ahead of myself here…back to the bullets…
  • On January 21st, around midnight, hubby and I were blessed to see the Super Blood Moon in all it’s glory. It’s not often the skies above our little rental here in FloTown are clear, but that evening was perfect for viewing this spectacular heavenly show.
  • I’ve connected with an artist/layout person who really ‘gets’ my vision for the artwork, packaging and branding of my Swimming with Swans project. This is a major achievement. She is amazing. Bless, you, Rita.  🙂
    (Ma's Uncle) Tran Mawicke poster

    (Ma’s Uncle) Tran Mawicke poster

  • I found a reasonably priced piece of vintage poster art by my Ma’s Uncle Tran Mawicke. My favorite fine art piece of his isn’t for sale, but I’m hopeful one day I’ll snap it up…However, for now this purchase was inspired by the fact that sailboats are one of hubby’s favorite activities after motorcycles. It’s set to arrive just in time for Valentine’s day. Just feels good to have this connection to my past here with us in the present.

~~~~~

 That’s it for now, dear readers. Thank you for allowing me to pop in & say hi during my blogging break. Bye for now.

 *will fill you in on details as we get closer to timing on all of this

longest night, Reflections during

Winter Solstice: a day with the least amount of sunshine potential; the shortest day and longest night; a time of reversals.

To me, the Winter Solstice feels more like the ending of the past year with the dawning of the true ‘new year.’  An organic New Year’s Eve, so to speak. What better time to reflect on the past year, letting go and easing into the ‘new year’ as each day from this point in time gains length.
With these reflections comes the announcement that this will be my final posting for 2018 with an undetermined first post date for the upcoming year. That’s just my convoluted way of saying I’m taking a blogging break!
😉
That said, let us continue.
In reviewing my Morning Pages* over this past year I realized it has been a full and satisfying 12 months. No family or close friends died or declared any horrific medical diagnosis, the selling of my folks’ house went smoothly and the settling of their estate is almost completed, we visited and celebrated with family members and friends throughout the year and throughout the country, and the scary emergencies we did encounter were accompanied by His ‘peace that passes all understanding’ as we walked through those life-paths.
It seems we landed in a junction of respite from several years of elder care, personal pain, disappointments, grief and such.
Fielding the good with the bad, several themes** emerged as well – often revealing forward movement on goals, desires, hopes and dreams; working through the ups & downs of life; grappling with deeper issues in living a purposeful life.
Why then this lingering sense of sadness?
Is it the darkness? The longer nights and shorter days? Grey black skies, claustrophobic fog?
Not really.
I relish this Winter Solstice evening – prolonged darkness, giving permission to hunker down, and delve into soul searching, validating this yearning to be still and listen to what the Lord through His creation and past events is speaking to me.
Then what is contributing to this heaviness, this disheartening sense of impotence in making a difference in life’s inequities?
Ah yes, of course. Events over this past year, worldwide and oh-too-to-close-to-home local happenings.

  • Parkland school shootings, Las Vegas, Nevada concert shootings, synagogue slaughter, humble town of Florence, SC massacre and on & on infinitum…
  • Manchester arena bombing anniversary representing terrorism in a free country with strict gun control.
  • Never ending hordes of everyday people fleeing their beloved homeland for a safe place to stay alive…Syrians, Central Americans, Africans…
  • Governments killing their own citizens in the name of advancing their own personal agenda.
  • Free world border ‘wars’ using displaced, desperate persons, families & children as fodder for unwinnable negotiations.
  • Increased homelessness in the midst of hardworking middle class professionals – and all the ramifications of undeserved shame while struggling to continue to survive in an ever increasing hostile American society.
  • Constant bombardment of Trumpian Temper Tantrums affecting everyday Americans (sorry, I don’t normally specify political opinions…please give me latitude during this Winter’s Solstice)

And yet, this is all not new…the poor have always been with us, the rich and powerful have always manipulated laws to benefit themselves, increasing their wealth and opportunities, to the detriment of everyday people, and, what of the ever presence of war – always with us.
1968 was a bad year – Vietnam War, numerous assassinations, student protests…Decades earlier, WWII, Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, the Holocaust
The world’s suffering is so personal.
It hurts.
And yet, I am reminded:

“God wastes nothing – not even our darkness”


*from which I am taking an indeterminate break also, after 28+ years of faithful jottings!
**my music, hubby’s new business, finding home, strengthening relationships…

Sixty Pho’ part one

Got this postcard from our son Joe in the snail mail a few days ago.

Make Pho' Not War

Welcome to the 21st century, Vietnam and Baby Boomers!

 The slogans written on the VW bus are as follows:

  • Make Pho’ Not War
  • Draft Beer, Not boys
  • Peace
  • all we need is peace
  • Love
  • Hoian (Quang Nam Province)
  • War is expensive, Peace is priceless

And the best for last:

  • Vietnam against War (using the V and W in the VW logo)

 
Coming of age during the Vietnam War, the country itself has never held any appeal for me to visit. Dove or Hawk, protester or soldier, the war in Vietnam was complicated. The dread of the draft during wartime isn’t too much understood these days as we have an all-volunteer army which implies a desire to be involved in the military in some form or another during times of war and of peace. Those days, enlisting was an option that meant a guy of draftable age could at least choose a branch of the military in which to serve. Hubby chose the Navy.
As such, while hubby served during the Vietnam War, his assigned job as a naval optical man. He’s very adamant about making the distinction that he’s a Vietnam era Vet, not a Vietnam Veteran in deference to those who did indeed serve their tour of duty in Southeast Asia.
Anyway, I have to admit our son’s month long trip hiking, biking and scootering the entire length of Vietnam starting in the North and ending in the South, opened my eyes to its natural beauty, culture, native coffees & foods, and as a traveler’s destination.
Like many of you, I was first introduced to those fresh Vietnamese Noodle Bowls in the 1990’s and graduated to the more complex flavors of Pho’ in recent years. So now, Joe’s fun postcard entices me further as he wrote on the back –

Move over Pho - here comes Bun Bo Hue!

Move over Pho – here comes Bun Bo Hue!


‘I found a pho-sibling that is equally delicious! Bon Bo has a deeper roast flavor to the broth…other delicious dishes to look out for are Bohn Beo, Bahn Khoai.’
Yum! I’m all in!
Darn – I don’t think those selections are on any menu around here in Florence, SC. I even double checked via google since FloTown has been changing in recent years…to be fair. However, I did find in the google search a single listing of a Vietnamese Restaurant that debuted in 2015 and closed down in the same year.
Just sayin’…I’ll keep a keen eye for these dishes elsewhere.
Meanwhile, as for the use of Pho’ as a word in the blogpost title rather than as the name of a delicious dish – How did you mentally pronounce the word Pho’? Faux or Fuh?
Hint: the correct pronunciation of Pho’ helps one to understand its relationship to the Sixty in the title of this post and will become evident as you continue to read on…next time in part two…

So, how do you pronounce Pho’?

At the Y Wondering Why?

South Florence, SC water tower

February 2018 – repairs being made on the South Florence water tower


Wednesday, October 3rd I drove the 5 miles across town to the newer Aldi’s on the West side of Florence, SC. It’s a better one than the one in our neighborhood as I live one block west of the area demarcated as ‘the other side of the tracks’ on the South side of town. I’ve long since given up taking casual walks around our neighborhood due to safety issues and drive to an area across town, not too far away from that same Aldi’s, to walk the Rail Trail when weather permits. All of that to say, most of my exercising occurs indoors at the YMCA a few blocks from our little rental home.
Around 4ish that same Wednesday afternoon, I wheeled my almost empty grocery cart to the only open check-out lane. I arrived third in line, standing behind two others, each with heaping shopping carts filled with groceries and cases of special Aldi’s offerings. After waiting about 10 minutes, watching the lone checker struggle with the bulk purchases of the first customer, I decided to return my 3 items and come back another day. That put it at 4:15 when I left the parking lot to return home, empty handed, around 4:30ish.
Meanwhile, about 3 miles further northwest of that same Aldi’s, in an upscale neighborhood, an ambush was taking place. 7 police officers were shot…making National News. Continue reading

Ramblings in the manner of a NaNoWriMo word war

Been back from CO since Saturday the 4th
My folks’ house got listed Thursday the 2nd, then officially on the market on Friday the 3rd  with a Saturday the 4th Open House which yielded lots of foot traffic and 2 possible offers leading to an all cash offer on its 8th day on the market!
On the phone with my cousin a few days before returning to SC, I mentioned I was looking forward to sleeping in my own bed…and then when we finally rolled into town a little after midnight, we discovered mice had been at play while we were away – leaving calling cards in that very bed…AIEEEEE!
All this after admitting to my baby cousin that ‘Home is where your bed is!’ (a major positive affirmation to where we are currently sojourning)…talk about a humbling re-entry into life back in the swamplands.

MamaCass & Naomi on our front porch

MamaCass & Naomi on our front porch


Previously, leaving our little rental house in SC for any length of time, MamaCass stood guard on the porch; grabbing the critters, both rodent and insect, for snacks before they could saunter inside. Now that our beloved porch cat has a permanent home on the other side of town with a proper cat lady, we came home to an empty porch ‘non-greeting’.
And, with our little rental’s insides newly discovered by resident rodents.
Since our return, we’ve been busy de-mousing the premises and trying hard to not skimp on those necessary procedures even if we’re tired, sleepy and needing to clean and dry clothes/bedding/rags with a non-functioning dryer no less. Read: wash at the house then take it all to the laundromat to dry (new dryer installed Wednesday the 8th).
Really things are okay, just that this place that never ever felt like home is even less so without MamaCass on so many levels.
And on so many levels her life reflects our own since moving here:

  • Up and out after our 3 years between homes; her life of producing litters of kitties after kitties – rescued and put on a more healthy life path.
  • Trusting that where we are is where the Lord wants us regardless of it not being the best fit for our true needs/desires/way of life; her trusting us to give her a place of refuge on our porch, even though she wanted to come inside – a time of healing and reconnection, regrouping for what is next.
  • Giving support and caring for each other as a ‘purpose’ during the interim – our commitment to moving on only when our newest responsibility had a real home (our landlord forbids pets, so we could never formally adopt MamaCass, even though we captured her and got her snipped after her second litter appeared on our porch). She is a true South Carolina MamaCat and would not have done well moving with us across country when the opportunities for us opened up.

The fact that she’s finally got a forever home and moved on in her life gives me hope we are close to moving on with our own lives, too.
God’s speed, MamaCass – wish us luck!

“The righteous care for the needs of their animals, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.” Proverbs 12:10 NIV

All in a Lady's Life

My cousin Dennis taking us for a boat ride on Lake Waco, TX

My cousin Dennis taking us for a boat ride on Lake Waco, TX


 
As hubby alluded to in the last post, we went to Colorado via the ‘long way’ earlier this May. First driving for 17 hours straight through to Waco, TX to visit my baby cousin and his family (and to do some business with a colleague in Houston).
Then off to Las Cruces, NM (a breezy 10 hour drive) – land of hubby’s adolescence, our newlywed life and ‘the compound’.
 
A favorite spot to wander the desert in Las Cruces, NM

A favorite spot to wander the desert in Las Cruces, NM

LCNM revisited (thoughts)

Sometimes ya gotta be away before ya can come back…or at the very least appreciate what ya left (for whatever reason).

I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with this place known as Las Cruces, New Mexico.  Town where we moved for hubby to finish his degree at NMSU after we first got married; place filled with his side of the family or in other words: my in-laws.  Not inherently a bad thing, just harder to make one’s mark on a new marriage when there are lots of others hovering overhead.  Plus life in married student housing was fun except for the crash course in the myriad varieties of roaches and ants harbored and lurking within the requisite 300 square foot cinderblock walls…

Our first-born was indeed born there, in fact, she was the first baby born for the New Year that year (1982). Cool. We couldn’t wait for all the diapers and other baby items everyone said the city would be bestowing upon us because of that incident of nature; we really needed the help with that kind of stuff being poor students and all…except the year before, the city made such a big deal over Baby New Year that it backfired on them since there were some shady relatives, legal circumstances and secrets now publicly revealed surrounding the family that innocent baby was born into.

So, no freebies for us, though we did get a great write up in the local newspaper and enthusiastic announcements on several of the local radio stations.

Oh well, didn’t matter much since we left for the Bay area soon after hubby graduated – within the first month of our Havilah’s life – to pursue his new job at HP (Hewlett/Packard) as a little family without either side of our families too near. And that’s when we grew the most as a three-some; and when our hearts yearned to be closer to both our families…go figure!

After a few days we were back on the road. The familiar I-25 trail took us to Colorado in the usual 9-10 hour time frame. Also, since we know that route by heart, it is less stressful in terms of placement of rest stops and timing on the one gas fill-up necessary to complete the journey.

Bruno's Purple Giants - Irises in the family and transplanted in our various gardens for almost 50 years

Bruno’s Purple Giants – Irises in the family and transplanted in our various gardens for almost 50 years (last vestiges shown here in a corner of Ma&Dad’s neglected garden)


Once at Ma & Dad’s place, the dominoes aligned into classic form, readying for that one touch to start the tumbling of items needed to get their estate settled.
For good.
Now that most of the sorting and sifting of the stuff of lives has been completed, I still have much to do to get the house ready for listing, but as a professional real estate agent told me: “You’re on the right path…almost there.”
After a mere 10 days back here in SC for already-on-the-calendar doctor’s appointments/tests and other commitments, we’ll be heading out again to Colorado, land of my (he)art, gearing up and plowing through to the finish line to ‘git ‘er done*’ with all things related to selling the house.
The housing market is rich with possibilities, wish us luck.
* thank you Anna for lending me this phrase
On the day before this year’s Summer Solstice, I’m leaving you with a bit of Manc Music in honor of the turning of seasons. Here are Mancunian native sons, the Courteeners, with Summer.

Fun February Blues Busters

February – the shortest yet longest month of the year.

Put your headphones on, crank the volume up high, & be transported to a place beyond February!

First up: father, Jay Molina (guitar) and son, Andrew Molina (uke) playing a Beatles Medley

Next up: my teenage ‘chocolate chip cookie’ song

Let me explain. Ma made the best huge choco-chip cookies, heavy laden with chips and nuts and then would freeze her doubled batch in our downstairs freezer…which was across the rec room from my bedroom. Always on a diet, I denied myself such goodies when offered but around 12 midnight, after everyone was in bed, I’d sneak into Fraulien’s room (our German Shepherd who shared the laundry room with the freezer) and dig out a few. Listening to Denver’s then underground (at the time, it was quite subversive) KLZ-FM radio station, I placed those hard-as-rock gems on top of the speaker, patiently awaiting the time to enjoy their lusciousness. As they thawed to eating consistency, I ceremoniously placed chunks of cookie into my waiting mouth. Inevitably, this song played several times during the night, accompanying my sweet secret indulgence.

Last up: I looked out this morning and the sun was gone/Turned on some music to start my day/I lost myself in a familiar song/I closed my eyes and I slipped away/It’s more than a feeling…

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