Legacy (Intermission 2)

I was pretty sure there wasn’t a name for it, but I went looking, anyway. Because, you know, Google. I’m often a bit too wordy in my searches, which always brings some sketchy results. I hopefully clicked on the search box and full-sentence typed in, “What do you call a biography about 2 people?”

The answer seems to be “Legacy Writing,” according to Dr. Andrew Weil.

‘Legacy’ though, is a multi-layered word, with an extreme spectrum. Summarizing from MacMillan, I’ll skip to the applicable parts:

Something that someone has achieved that continues to exist after they stop working or die.  

The principle that a thing which exists as a result of something that happened in the past can later be used in a different way

If I were to legacy, it would be for my thought. My style isn’t emulation oriented, except in the sense that it may easily be surpassed.

My grammar is not perfect: I allow myself sprawling loose liberties. My notes are not void of typographical errors, run-on sentences or devoid of undocumentable words.

Tuesday night writer’s fatigue often effects my error sharpness. Unlike my unguarded uncanny tendency to immediately zone in on the one menu misspelling at nearly every restaurant I’ve taken a seat in. My own weekly Knabble document review often self-relays what I meant to say and not necessarily how I typed it.

My messages cay be murky. I muddle through them, too.  I think I’m pretty good at casting an issue without aim or allude. This a humbly self-examinatory conclusion drawn on revsited archives. It’s quite clear I always have a point, but I’ve noticed I’m not always sure why I felt compelled to make it. (If I ever get to the end of this story, I’ll amuse us by republishing.)

The truth is the more I muddle, the less I understand. The less I understand, and the more I struggle. There are countless times I’ve heard this command: Be still and know that I am God. When I can stop thrashing, my muddy storm waters eventually settle. Maybe, when my deeper streams clear, I will be able to return and clarify.

I’m pretty sure having a writing obligation to anyone other than myself would not be met with enthusiasm. I don’t know that I could be placidly accepting of rejections intimating I do not have an amazingly wide-reaching professional talent.

I would rather continue to be a familiar folk artist, engaging in wide-open irregular keystrokes, portraying only the patterns in my life which might help you make sense of yours.

Quote for the Week:

2017 06 20 to share and encourage and enlighten requires love jakorte 06 18 2017

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

Love Isn’t Love (Til You Give It Away)

Per Oscar Hammerstein: The Sound of Music: I spent an hour searching for a male version of this song. Frank Sinatra is the voice in my head with the added word ‘baby’ Couldn’t find it, but this is an interesting story of how the lyric made it into the play but not to the soundtrack.  16 Going on 17 (Love isn’t Love Til You Give it Away)

Per Reba McIntyre:  very similar, liberties, perhaps: love isn’t love (Til You Give It Away)

Per Michael W. Smith: different and a great message:  Give It Away

 

Once a Week

As near as I can tell, I began my first on-line blog in February 2008. The only semi-proofs I have are a binder-clipped, wrinkled paper table of contents printed on December 27, 2013, and an entry dated November 10, 2009 that indicates I’d been at it for 89 weeks.

The announcement that the University of Michigan library would be offering a free movable type publishing platform arrived in a daily news email. Known as ‘mblog’ the site hosted my weekly entries until December 2013.

I eased into blogging by rolling away from a previous weekly publishing. What started as a weekly email to 37 people turned into a way to update family, friends and coworkers on a 2007 mission trip.  I called the original email newsletter, “Midweek Encouragement” and it offered just that. The standard header on each weekly Word document read, “One Page, Once A Week for the Promotion of Learning and Love.”

When mblog ended, I had to find a new way to keep sharing. I researched a bit and ended up on WordPress. The reviews indicated it was an easy-to-use site, the yearly fee was reasonable and instead of having to email a link directly to my readers, the link could be auto-sent to any subscriber.

The subscriber thing didn’t exactly take. The direct email list is now 64 participants, and the WordPress subscriber list has stalled at 58. Exposure on Facebook and Twitter is auto-linked and between the two, there are at least 250 potential exposures.

February must be an historically slow month for me because that’s the month I chose to enter the Instagram world in 2016. I’m hovering around 175 followers there.  To be honest my average weekly WP stats show about 25 average views per week.

The most read week I ever had was October 4, 2016 with 131 views, not so coincidentally the near 10th year anniversary of my husband Jeff’s  passing. This isn’t a pity party. It’s just me contemplating my strange dedication to maybe being heard, at least once a week.

Here’s what I do know, though. 484 weeks in, the answer to the hard and frequent question addressed in that November 2009 passage hasn’t changed much.

Quote for the Week:

2017 06 06 Its been said to take a minimum of 3 weeks jakorte

 

 

Broth – no ‘el’

Nannee went back and forth a few times, but eventually settled into an extended stay with us.

That was precipitated by a very bad flu. She had terrible coughing fits, trouble keeping anything down, and was reluctant to eat. Through badgering, I finally got Nannee to agree to try some beef broth and crackers.

When I brought them to her, she looked up at me tiredly and apologized ‘for being such a burden.’ “You shouldn’t be taking care of me,” she said. “You should be doing what young people do…”

“What do young people do?” I laughed, as I set down the tray. “Nannee,” I told her. “We want you here with us. The only time we feel you’re safe is when you’re here.”

What I meant was if she was with us, we weren’t worrying about her at home alone. It didn’t come out that way, of course. She distastefully screwed up her face, looked at me sidewise, and said she was going to rest.

“Ok,” I replied, backing out, well aware I’d managed to insult her again. This time by inferring she was incompetent and couldn’t take care of herself.

I didn’t get a chance to explain it all to Jeff when he came home because he stopped in Nannee’s room first.

After a while, he came into the kitchen and gave me a look of complete unfathomableness.

“Why,” he asked, extending his arm and thrusting out his pointer finger, “did you tell Nannee the only time we have sex is when she’s here?”

“That’s not what I said!” I protested.  “What I said was – the only time we feel you’re safe is when you’re here!”

Jeff let out an uproarious laugh. Then, the doorbell rang. Pastor David had come to give Nannee communion at her request. Jeff ushered him into the guest room and within 30 seconds, I heard more uproarious laughter coming from that end of the house.

Of course, I was mortified. First, because I would have never said what she thought I said. Second, because now the pastor was in on this situation. Third, because Jeff’s brother Eric was also in on it, as well.

After communion, and after Pastor and Eric left, I slid by Jeff. “Nannee,” I sat on the edge of the bed, “I didn’t say that!” “Jeff told me,” she smiled widely, patting my hand with hers.  Jeff started laughing, again, which made me laugh. That set Nannee off into a combo laughing/coughing fit.

When we all calmed down a bit, I noticed she hadn’t eaten anything. I took the tray off the nightstand and told her I was going to warm up the broth, again.

On my way to the kitchen, I heard Jeff laughing again. Although I saw the amusement in the situation, it just wasn’t funny enough to keep carrying on like that. It didn’t last long, so I guessed it was finally over.

I came back in with the reheated cup. Jeff took one look at me and doubled over. He was laughing and sweating and slapping his knee and trying to breathe. “Nannee thought,” he wheezed out.

“Oh, Jeff – don’t… ’” Nannee interrupted him.

“Nannee thought,” he continued after a deep breath.

“Jeeehhhff!” Nannee squawked.

Jeff was determined. “Nannee said…” He straightened up a bit and another deep breath.

“She said,” he hiccupped like a broken record. “She said – ‘Did she say something about a brothel?!’”

Quote for the week:

 

2017 05 30 Speak softly jakorte

Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:

For: softly

Against:  softly

Musically:  killing me softly

Sweet Pea

I’ve always had a little trouble remembering Jeff’s birth date. I always got April, but I’d get confused about whether it was the 24th or 25th. Pretty much every year, I would pride myself on getting it right, and end up getting it wrong again.

I’d give him his card first thing in the morning, or maybe stealthily add it to his lunch bag. And then he’d look at me or text me, “Thank you. My birthday is tomorrow.” “I know,” I’d respond. “I just wanted to be the first.” Of course, Jeff knew better, but he never embarrassed me by saying so. I’d just make sure to run out for another card for the next morning.

In 2012, I did something that I felt required notifying Jeff’s family. It was after the fact, but still important so I broke the ice with a short email. “Thinking of you and Jeff today,” I wrote. The response I received was graciously humorous and something to the effect of, “I’m sure Jeff will be having lunch with Dale Earnhardt in heaven, tomorrow.”

Early on in our relationship, I started calling Jeff ‘Sweet Pea.’ Always privately, mostly on the phone and mostly at the end of our week night conversations. I’d say, “Goodnight sweet pea, love you.” He’d say, “Goodnight, I love you, too.”

If you think that would sound ridiculous coming out of my mouth, it did. And, it came out with an accidentally adapted light pseudo-southern/Nashvillian accent to boot.

I never thought much about how he’d feel about it. But, he never objected or said anything about it, either.

About two years into Michigan, Jeff pointed out to me my accent wasn’t as bad. “What are you talking about?” I asked.

“Your accent,” he repeated.  “I don’t speak any differently than I ever did,” I protested.

“Uh, huh,” Jeff nodded, retrieving his cell phone from his pocket.  He dialed emphatically, and handed it to me. “Just listen…” he advised.

And there I was listening to a two-year prior version of me deeply twanging my way through a typical voicemail greeting.

At a Flea Market one afternoon, I noticed an oversized cup with a flowery design and the words ‘Sweet Pea’ in an equally flowery font.

“I think I’ll buy you this cup for your birthday,” I teased. Jeff laughed, “Well, it is my birth flower.”

“Your what?” I asked. “My birth flower – it’s the sweet pea – it’s the April flower.”

“Really?” I countered. “I didn’t know that!”  He laughed again, but stopped short a few steps later.

“Wait,” he said as he turned to face me. “Why did you call me that then?

“I don’t know,” I said. “It just … popped out. Must have been that southern influence…”

“Well, I like it,” He confessed sincerely with his usual wide grin.

I smiled, too. I’m still smiling, actually.

Even as I say out loud tonight, “Happy Birthday in Heaven, Sweet Pea.”

Quote for the Week:

2017 04 25 the greatest gift you can give someone jakorte

Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:

There’s a flower for that: Actually, there are 2

Don’t Eat Them: Truly

Beautiful:  But, finicky

Peeps – The Kiss First Clause

I may have mentioned this before, but it’s still Peeps season.

As far as I’m concerned, it will remain Peeps season until all of the Peeps are gone.

I’m talking about the coveted and cabineted ones. Even with the holiday in my rearview, there’s still time to increase the stash. I’ll be ‘Peep Seeking’ a little while longer in the likely vain hope of a misplaced carton or even sleeve.

I admittedly will not give up until it becomes clear I will not find this year’s coveted flavor. I sadly started the search too late, and was left standing forlornly in Target staring at the empty box labeled “Vanilla Caramel Brownie Peeps.”

I also admit that I might not have believed that was a true special occasion creation, but, as I said, I saw the empty box for myself. In retrospect, I should have photographed it. It would have made a social media plea for them an illustration of frustration and perhaps I would have been flooded with good-willed Vanilla Caramel Brownie Peeps. Sigh.

Sometimes the very thing that makes me happy, makes me sad, and then makes me laugh.

My husband, Jeff, was a man who would not even slightly hesitate to insert his entire arm into a cow’s uterus.

So, how a cute little squishy marshmallow chick could cause him to cringe, shake and gag was always beyond me.

Physically. He’d watch me bite into one, and pull his head back like he wanted to turtle into his own shoulders. He’d wave his hands at waist-level, muttering “yuck” and shivering into goosebumps.

As true love often does, I willingly made small sacrifices for Jeff, and Jeff willingly made small sacrifices for me. One of the sweetest involved the seasonal search and appropriate pre-consumption seasoning of Peeps.

Religiously poking holes in their cellophane habitats, Jeff would clandestinely hide my favorite treats somewhere I was sure never to look. You know, that almost useless over-the-stove cabinet that only tall giant-sized people ever consider an actual place to store things.

He went to all this trouble for two very good reasons.

The first was so that the adorable, delicious candy creatures would be ever-so-slightly crunchy-stale when he ceremoniously presented them to me on whatever holiday it was we were celebrating.

The second was for the kiss he knew he would get after I finished squealing in delight.

The kiss had conditions, though: it had to occur after presentation, before ingestion. I tried it once the other way and Jeff objected.

“Ew,” he’d said. “Don’t ever kiss me after you eat one of those!”

After that, he always insisted on that order, sometimes going as far as keeping them way above me with his outstretched arm.  “Kiss first!” he’d grin. And I would happily oblige.

Quote for the Week:

2017 04 18 Sometimes the very thing that makes me happy jakorte

4 Hour Assembly, Required

If you’ve ever put together a do-it-yourself anything, you’ll know it’s never as easy as it seems.

Our new to-be wardrobe-turned-cabinet was no exception. Assembly began in the living room. We’d agreed that the laundry room would be too tight to try it there, and we might damage the linoleum or the cabinet finish. Working on the carpet, did us no favors, though. It was hard to even off the sections and perfectly align the frame.

With the intention of continuing to work in the kitchen, I lay down a top sheet while Jeff moved all the unattached parts.  Back in the living room, we stood what we’d put together upright to keep its integrity together. Then, we ran into a minor obstacle.

The cabinet was taller than the door frame between the dining room, the off-shoot kitchen and the hallway to the den. My many moving experiences came in handy just then. We just needed to angle it down a few degrees to pass below the threshold. It went through easily.

Getting ready to move. “Wait a minute. Wait a miiiinute,” Jeff said setting his side down. I followed suit. Jeff peered around me into the kitchen. Then peered into the hallway, and said, “We’re gonna have the same problem gettin’ it in there.”  ‘In there’ meant the laundry room.

“That’s ok,” I answered, “we’ll just angle it again.”

“Well…” Jeff stalled, scratching his beard. “Yeah, I think that door way is narrower and after puttin’ it together, it’s gonna be really heavy and hard to tilt.”

“Oh,” I said, immediately envisioned us tilting too much, dropping it on the floor and ruining the cabinet before we ever used it.

“Yeah,” he answered. “We’re gonna have to build it in there.” I didn’t think it was going to be possible for both of us to get in there with the darn thing and work on it.

“Well… Jeff shrugged. “We gotta try it….” So, we slid the flimsy shell down the short hall, angled it once again and set it upright where we thought it might go best. Unfortunately, leaving it there would mean never being able to open the side door fully.

Jeff thought that would be alright. I didn’t. I worried about damaging the door, damaging the cabinet and how we’d even move it if we had to bring something through that side door. “How about over there?” I suggested.

Jeff sighed and nodded. He pushed, I pulled and we kept it together enough to place it closer to the laundry room entrance. There was more of a corner wall to be tucked in nicely, which also kept the door from banging the front. It was a good spot. We lowered the framed structure down to the floor again, which again, sounds easier than it was.

The very tight fit left only room for one. Since Jeff was on the far end of the cabinet, he was more-or-less stuck in the laundry room. He wouldn’t be able to get out without stepping onto the thin backboard or leaving the house entirely through the side door and come in the front door.

Jeff took a floor seat and undid some of the work he had already done in order to square it up, re-tighten bolts and ensure the construction was as solid as it could be. I transported all of the parts from the kitchen to the hallway.  That left me in charge of relaying the instructions after I identified which part was which and what went next. That led to a few tense moments.

From start to finish, moving and moving and moving it, unassembling and reassembling, and a few step-aside moments, took about 3 hours. By the time we stood the behemoth up, anchored it to the wall, attached the doors and crankily debated the proper shelf spacing, another hour had gone by.

Standing back to admire our handiwork, I thoughtfully considered our success. “You know…” I offered, “We could really  go get another one and put it right next to this one…”

“The only thing we’re gonna to get tonight is a pizza,” Jeff replied picking up the phone. “And,” he added, continuing to search  speed dial for The Pizza Bucket, “We’ve got enough cabinets. We’ve got more than enough cabinets. We’re never gonna need another cabinet…. ever.”

Bringing the phone to his ear, he said “Hi … I’d like to place an order…”

Quote for the Week:

2017 03 21 For a long time, I_ve suspected pizza collusion jakorte

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

Pizza Delivery:  All You Need to Know

Pizza Crust:  Make Your Own

Sauder: Assembly Required

 

 

Good Measure

When I picture our couples decision-making conversations, I realize I did a lot of pulling.

Carpet Outlet Plus was just down the road from our new home. We’d first gone in to look at possibly replacing the blood red carpet. Realizing it wasn’t going to be immediately affordable, Jeff was still convinced I’d grow out of my dislike.

Jeff got sidetracked in the carpet-tile section by an enter-to-win opportunity. He never missed an opportunity to enter a raffle.  If there was a box to put your name in, he’d put his name in. “You can’t win if you don’t enter,” he’d say. He’d also happily field the predictable sales calls that usually followed.

We wandered around a little on the way out just to be sure we hadn’t missed something, and we had. A small section of the warehouse displayed a few all assembly required Sauder line samples.

I had been thinking maybe a book shelf or two would solve the laundry room’s no-cabinets dilemma. There weren’t any book cases, but there was an armoire that seemed even better because it had doors to hide the supplies behind. We knew it would be a discount flooring warehouse with

Picturing it, I immediately had my heart set on a white one. Jeff preferred the wood faux-finish. Of course, there were only light and dark wooden finishes in the size I thought would fit. “It just looks nicer,” he said, politely trying to sway me. “Oh,” I responded, bluntly. “I think the fake stuff looks cheap.” “Oh.” he said. “Hmmm.”

Around the next bend there was a much larger, white double cabinet.  “Hey, look! It’s white!” Jeff smiled, assuring me that it would fit where it needed to fit. I didn’t think so. I argued that it would stick out too far into the doorway and crowd the space. We realized we’d have to go home to measure.

On the way out, my chicken radar activated. My swiveling eyes locked on a chicken clock. It was a rather large, regular round clock with a chicken feed motif, metal movements and an antique finish. It was $52 dollars, though, which was about half the cost of the large cabinet.  We considered that, then, left empty-handed with a “maybe someday” agreement.

Off we went to Lowe’s. They didn’t have what we wanted, either. But, as long as we were there, we went in search of lampshades for the bedside lamps that came along with the bedroom suite. It’s funny now that we didn’t know we’d need to know what size shade we needed. We didn’t have a clue, so we gave up shopping, went home and measured for both items.

The following week, Jeff received a call from the carpet store, informing him that he had the won the weekly drawing. The prize was a gift certificate. We took our measurements with us and came to the conclusion that the larger cabinet would fit nicely, giving us more storage space.

As we were completing the sale at the cashier desk, I pointed out to Jeff that the chicken clock was no longer where it had been.  “The chicken clock?” the woman behind the desk asked. “Yes,” I said. “It was hanging in that space right behind you.”

“Oh,” she pointed. “You mean that chicken clock over there? That’s the last one and it’s been marked down.”  Jeff asked me if I wanted it. I replied, “I don’t know…” “Well, how much is it?” he asked. It was $28 dollars.

Jeff nodded his head and told the lady we’d take it. “We will?” I squeaked. “Yeah.” He went on to  adamantly explain, “We were gonna buy a cabinet anyway, so we’ll just use the gift certificate for it. It’s like a little bonus!”

We stood in the parking lot a moment shaking and scratching our heads. Somehow, we stuffed the flat-boxed armoire and the chicken clock into the Neon, and headed home.

Quote for the Week:

2017 03 14 lucky enough to enter jakorte

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

Furniture:  Good Measure

Carpet :  Good Measure

Carpet Outlet Plus:  A Very Good Measure