Monday, November 21, 2011
A few days ago, Walmart wouldn't take my debit card payment for my purchases, asking for a smaller amount. What the heck was going on? I knew I had deposited a great deal of money to my account just a couple of weeks prior to this shopping trip, and hadn't spent much of it, wanting to save it for Christmas gifts.
Today, I received a call from JC Penney online, reporting that someone had tried to purchase a tv using my debit card information, but it was a different address to ship it to, which aroused suspicion in the clerk. I told her I had not ordered any tvs. She recommended I contact my bank, which I did immediately. The bank president closed my debit card.
My next step was to go online, and look at all the debits and credits to my account. What I found shocked me.
There were over $2000 in charges that I had never made. I printed out the register of entries. I was really becoming upset. Was someone coming in to my house? Or going through my purse at work? Or getting access to my account information from shopping online? I felt violated. The more I thought about it, the angrier I became.
I posted a message to the culprit on Facebook. I told this invisible threat to my well-being that I hoped they were enjoying my grandchildren's Christmas money, and that I was trying to gain the strength to forgive them, but it was difficult, very difficult. I told them that the card was cancelled, and the account would probably be closed as well.
Then I called the sheriff's department and reported what had been happening. They took my name and number and promised someone would be in touch. It was much later when the deputy called and said he had been tied up with a traffic accident. We talked and he asked a lot of questions. I gave a lot of information to him that I usually don't give out over the phone. I had noticed the caller ID number and knew it came from the police department. I felt a little uneasy giving out that information, because if the wrong person got hold of that information, I could really be in financial disaster.
The deputy said he would come by Mt. Joseph, where I work, tomorrow afternoon to pick up the itemized list of charges made by the culprit. I hope and pray they catch this person. I wonder how many others have been stolen from by this person. I don't know if it happened in one of the stores when I was shopping last weekend, or if my card was exposed to someone elsewhere. Or could it have happened when I shopped online?
I do know that I will be much more protective with my card and shopping from now on. My purse will be kept locked in my locker at work, not left lying on the floor by the desk. I have a hard time trusting anyone. I'm changing the password on my television, so no one can run up a huge bill again. The remotes will be kept where the dogs can't step on them. My peace has been destroyed, in the Season of Peace and Goodwill. I hope things will be better next year.
Friday, October 28, 2011
I'm getting a little nervous about the NANOWRIMO beginning on Tuesday. I've gotten a little bit of a head start by doing a loose outline of my story, and fleshing out my characters a little bit. I need to get them more defined before I start, so I'm not contradicting myself with their behaviors.
I have heard good feedback about my theme and plot so far. The premise of my story is a nurse in a nursing home who is dealing with four teenagers at home with one bathroom to share, and a husband who drives a truck and is rarely home. This nurse is also caring for her elderly dad, who is a resident of the nursing home where she works. When a couple of convicts escape from a nearby prison and take the staff and residents of the nursing home as hostages, the nurse must keep everyone calm, do her job as best she can, while trying to talk the convicts into surrendering without harming anyone. Her faith in God is her strongest support in this story.
I've never written 50,000 words in a month before. I don't know if I'll make it, but I'd like to give it a try. Who knows? It might be my best story yet! Wish me luck!
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
I've known about this event since 1999, the first year it began. However, 1999 was not a particularly slow year for me. I lost a daughter in a house fire in February, and gave the other daughter to her husband in October. In between dealing with mourning one, and trying to keep up a happy face for the other, when I really just wanted to crawl in a hole and never come out, just about wore me out.
Each year, I've had some reason why I couldn't participate in Nano. Usually, I blamed it on my job, my health, family obligations, or just plain laziness. So I had already decided I wouldn't take part again this year, and posted it in the F2K forum.
Today, however, a niggling thought came to mind. If I don't ever try, I'll never succeed. I would prefer to use my work in progress, DOOR IN TIME for Nano, but the powers that be wish everything to be brand new. So I compromised. I looked through my prior writings, and found a short story that I had worked on many years ago. I never really finished it then. But ideas for the completion of a full novel based on my character began to flood my brain. I knew then, that I had to try it.
There is no guarantee that I will finish the project now, but I'd sure like to give it a try. And once I finish this, maybe I'll have the momentum to finish DOOR IN TIME. I've even got an idea or two for sequels to that novel.
So, if you don't see much of me in November, don't worry. I'll be fine. And if you see me carrying my laptop around, don't assume I'm playing games. I doubt I'll have much time for those for a month or two. There is no penalty for not completing the 50,000 words, but each word that I do get written will be that much closer to the finish line of a new novel. And that's what I like to do.
If this post inspires you to do something similar and crazy like me, it's not too late to join in. Just Google NANOWRIMO and follow the leads to the site, register and on November 1, start your engines and begin racing toward the 30th and a complete novel.
Anyone care to join me? I'm registered under NurseArtist1951. I'd love to have some friends doing this with me. Perhaps we could even meet to write together. I happen to know a neat little coffee house close by where we can work.
I'm pumped. Are you?
Friday, October 14, 2011
There’s nothing like cleaning out closets and junk rooms to bring back memories. That is the project of the week for me, and it has brought a roller coaster of emotions along for the ride.
Jason’s old room is full to the brim with empty boxes, old bedding, old furniture, old stereo equipment belonging to both Jason and Josh, and old toys. Many of these items will simply go to the garbage, but a few of them made me sit down and reminisce for a few moments. Cobwebs cover the corners and ceiling, a reminder that I’ve waited too long to tackle this project.
Take Jason’s old G.I. Joe toys, Transformers, and high school prom pictures. Jason didn’t do much dating in high school, so a nice prom picture with him in it is a treasure to me. I plan on keeping one of these photos for myself.
I found Teresa’s nursing license certificate and card. This brought out a few tears, remembering Teresa’s last days alive. I’ll put these in the scrapbook we started about Teresa to give to Regan. She is old enough now to need some mementos to remind her of her mother.
Becky’s old Cabbage Patch Doll will make a nice gift for her daughter, Karsyn. I was delighted to see those are still popular. My girls certainly enjoyed playing with theirs.
Josh had a lot of stereo equipment stored in that room. I have no idea what some of it even is or what it does. I found an old photo album from when he was in Okinawa. I think some of those photos are better left lost.
I found motorcycle helmets, beer signs, lots of sweaters and boots that will go to the Thrift Shop. Some of Regan’s baby toys she outgrew can be sterilized and put in the toy box for Whitley and Karsyn to play with, or fight over, as the case may be.
Josh has a huge wooden trunk that is full of uniform parts, sports memorabilia, and other assorted mementos of time gone by. I’m hoping he’ll want to take those home with him. But they’ll be ok for a while in the trunk. It’s all the loose items that are bugging me to be disposed of. Lots of CD covers with no disc in them. Do I recycle the covers? Do I search for the CDs? Not likely. Gun cleaning kits, and parts of guns, boxes that once held rifles, weedeaters, and other “man stuff” will all find homes elsewhere.
The floor is looking pretty rough. I’ll have to put down a large area rug to cover splintered areas. The walls definitely need a coat of paint. All of that will have to come later. Right now, it’s back to the “bat cave” to finish sorting. If I don’t emerge in a day or so, please send out a search party. I may have been bitten by something rabid.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Saturday, October 1, 2011
One man's junk is another's treasure.
Furniture, clothing, pots and pans,
Bring cash to some; to others, pleasure.
Antiques, baby supplies, toys, even guns,
Something for everyone, second to none.
Traffic jams, people jumping out of cars,
Racing to grab those canning jars.
TVs, stereos, sports equipment,
Does it work? How much do you want?
Can I fit that into my car?
I wonder if I have space for that.
Can I return it if it don't fit?
Will the grandkids wear that?
Is it out of style? I wouldn't touch that
for a country mile.
My cash is all gone; my time is all spent.
I wouldn't buy that for one red cent.
Time to go home, put my new treasures away,
Until the next garage sale day.
Dixie Barnes 2011
Friday, September 30, 2011
Saturday, September 24, 2011
Georgia never attended school past the sixth grade. She dropped out of school to help raise her siblings. She was the oldest of eight children. The family moved several times in the Clifton, Ks area. She worked at several jobs during her teen and young adult life, until she married Dale, who survives her. They had been married 65 years at the time of her death.
Dale and Georgia raised ten children. My husband is the oldest. He has five brothers and four sisters. The brother closest in age to him died following cancer surgery in 2008.
There are many grandchildren, great grandchildren, and several great-great grandchildren. One grandchild, our daughter, Teresa, died in a house fire in 1999. When the family has family dinners,they rent the American Legion hall to accommodate the large crowd. It can get pretty wild, with everyone trying to talk, some playing cards, children chasing each other around having fun, tons of delicious food brought potluck.
Georgia's faith was her strength. She was a devout Catholic, as were her parents and her siblings. It was her most desired wish that her children would grow up mindful that Jesus is their Savior.
Georgia was always interested in crafts. She loved doing embroidery work. Tea towels were stitched with loving fingers and given away as wedding and shower gifts to each new bride in the family. She also sold them to people who stopped by the booth she shared with her husband. He makes custom gun stocks for rifles and shotguns, with beautiful walnut wood and delicate etching and checkering. They traveled together to gun shows all over the country.
The two of them loved to travel and purchased several motor homes and trailers to live in during their travels. They took several of the older children with them in their travels at times, visiting the national parks and other scenic byways of this great country.
During the past year, Georgia suffered several health setbacks and was hospitalized numerous times. Her last illness kept her hospitalized for several weeks, culminating in her death on September 23, 2011.
There will be a vigil and Rosary on Sunday, September 25, 2011 at Turner's Funeral Home in Clifton at 7:00 p.m. Funeral services will be held at the St. Mary's Catholic Church in Clifton, Ks. on Monday, September 26, 2011 at 10:30 a.m. Graveside services and internment will be in the St. Mary's Cemetery north of Clifton, immediately following the service. A dinner will be held for family at the church following internment.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Yesterday, I had at least 10 years scared out of me when a black snake about 4 1/2 ft. long dropped out of a tree and landed on the sidewalk right in front of me. I'm not sure who was more surprised, me or the snake. He immediately coiled up and that forked tongue flickered up and down and in and out of his mouth. I beat a hasty retreat to my porch.
Friday, May 27, 2011
“All men are slime,” said the waitress, Sherry, as she leaned over the café bar. “I should know, I’ve dated a lot of them. I’ve never found a good one yet.”
As she wiped the bar, she glanced at me with a sympathetic eye. I tried to keep my emotions under control, but a tear defied my best efforts and rolled slowly down one cheek. I sniffed and wiped the tear away with the back of my hand.
“Ah, honey, don’t cry. He isn’t worth it. I’d just forget about men for now. Throw yourself into your work. Get a pet. Find a hobby, or two, or three. You’ll be much better off—you’ll see.” She reached over and patted my arm with her free hand.
“I know, Sherry, but I really thought we had something special. He treated me like a real princess. I’ve never had that before.”
“Julie, they all think they are treating you like a princess, and all the while, they’re only looking out for number one. And that isn’t the female in the equation, believe me.” Sherry left my side to wait on a customer, while I continued to struggle with my emotions.
Sherry returned with the coffee pot, and refreshed my cup. I sat and watched the steam rolling up and around in circles, and sniffed, enjoying the aroma. I was remembering the day I had met Jeff.
“Jeff used to make me coffee, and he’d put little peppermint sticks in it for stirring. It was so good. We’d have our coffee out on the patio in the mornings and watch the sun rise. I loved those mornings with him.” I was whining by the time I finished, and wiped another stray tear from my cheek.
“What did you say he did for a living?” Sherry asked. She pulled a step stool over and sat down across the bar from me. She scanned the café frequently for customers needing assistance, but her attention was mostly devoted to my problems.
“He’s a writer. A sports writer. He goes to all the games and reports on them. You know, like Howard Cosell, except he writes his for the newspapers, not on TV.”
I tucked a strand of stray brown hair behind my ear and stirred my coffee. Smiling, I looked at Sherry, and added, “He actually won an award last year for Best Sports Writer of the Year. He was so proud. And I was, too.”
“That must have been a happy time for you, Julie. What happened to sour those happy times?” Sherry leaned her face on her cupped hands and looked into my eyes.
“He was gone all the time. He’d go to games in every state within a thousand miles of here, and be gone sometimes for three weeks at a time. I got so lonely. I didn’t know what to do with myself.” My smile disappeared as I remembered the cold winter nights alone in my queen sized bed, with only an occasional phone call from him to check on how I was, and tell me where he was going next.
“I’m sure that was a lonely time. Did you have anything to keep you busy or have any friends to hang with?”
“No, I went to work, came home, watched a little tv, and then went to bed. I don’t do hobbies. They get expensive, and my job as a secretary doesn’t pay much.”
“What about friends? Maybe you could have asked someone over to play card games or something. Or go to a movie now and then. Did you try anything like that?”
“No, I’m not much of a socialite. I just waited by the phone. I was afraid to miss one of Jeff’s calls.”
“Did he end your relationship? Or did you?”
“Well, neither of us actually ended it. We just drifted apart. He hasn’t called for over a week now, and so I’m just assuming he doesn’t care anymore.”
“Have you tried calling him?”
“No, I could never do that. My mom always told me that to call a man made you look cheap.”
“Well, then, I guess I know what she’d think of me,” Sherry laughed. “If my guy hasn’t called in a week, I sure as hell would be trying to reach him to find out why!”
I laughed, and took a sip of coffee. “My teachers all said I need to be more assertive. I suppose they’re right. I’ve always been so shy. I’m so afraid of what people might think. So I hide by myself at home. Do you really think I should call him?”
“Well, hell yes! Who knows, maybe he’s been sick or in an accident and can’t talk to you. Or maybe he’s found someone else. But at least you’ll know. Here, use my cell. Call him.” Sherry handed me her cell phone.
My hands shook as I dialed his number. He answered on the third ring.
“Hello? Who is this?”
“It’s Sherry. I’ve been worried. You haven’t called.” My voice trembled as I waited for his answer.
“Oh, Babe, I’m sorry. I lost my cell phone, and just today got a new one. I’ve been missing you so much. Hey, how would you like to fly to
“Well, I do have the next three days off. I suppose I could come there. Are you sure? I can’t repay you.”
“Pay me? Who asked for repayment? I want to do this. I think it would be awesome. Besides, I’d like to show you off to some writer friends of mine. They don’t have a beautiful young woman waiting for them. Will you please come?”
“Yes, Jeff. I’ll come. I’ll be waiting for your call. I love you. Goodbye.”
I grinned as I handed Sherry’s phone back to her. She was grinning back at me as she took it and put it in her apron pocket.
“Now see, aren’t you glad you called? He wasn’t dumping you. Now you’ll have a great time with him this weekend. I’m so jealous! Does he have a friend? Maybe there is someone out there for me.” Sherry laughed and patted my arm. A customer waved, and she danced her way down to him at the other end of the bar.
“Oh, God, thank You. This will be an awesome weekend. I’m going to
Julie left a huge tip and a note that simply said “Thank You” next to her cup of coffee, now cold. She grinned as she left the café, ready to face the world once more.
CARRIE AND CINDY READ
“Carrie, let’s sit here on this bench and you can read your homework to me. It’s so much nicer out here in the garden. The house is so stuffy!”
“Ok, Cindy, you’ll help me if I can’t read the hard words, won’t you?”
“Sure, Carrie. Don’t I always?”
“Well, that one day I was reading to you, but you weren’t really listening. You were watching those two boys over there playing ball. When I asked you to help, you yelled at me.”
“I did not!”
“Whatever! Just start reading. I’m listening. What are you reading today?”
“It’s a book about animals. I love animals….Carrie?”
“Why won’t Daddy let me have a puppy? I could take care of it…I’d love to have a puppy.”
“Yeah, me too. But we can’t. Daddy says Mom’s allergic.”
“But I want one!”
“Quit your whining! If you’re not going to read, you won’t have your homework done, and there will be hell to pay.”
“What does that mean…hell to pay?”
“It means you’ll be in big trouble and probably get grounded. Now get to reading, young lady!”
“Ok…Maurice was a mouse. He lived in a hole in the wall behind the sofa. Why would a mouse live in a hole in the wall? Don’t they have houses?”
“Carrie, mice are frightened, helpless little animals. They have no hands, no tools. How could they build a house?”
“Well, I don’t know. Don’t yell at me or I’ll tell Mom!”
“Maurice lived with his Mom and Dad and seven brothers and sisters. Wow! That’s a big family. Why don’t we have that many brothers and sisters, Cindy?”
“Probably because they’d ask silly questions, like you. Read!”
“Each mouse had a job in the family. Maurice was a food g-g-ga--, Carrie, I can’t get this word.”
“Gatherer. Maurice was a food gatherer. That means he went out into the rest of the house looking for food particles to carry back to the mouse hole to feed his brothers and sisters.”
“Oh. Do I have a job, Cindy?”
“Yes, your job is to aggravate me. And you’re very, very good at it, too.”
“Oww! Quit pinching! I’m telling Mom!”
“Well, go ahead. And I’ll tell her you didn’t get your homework done. Who do you think will get into the worst trouble?”
“Oh, Cindy. You always have to be so mean?”
“Not if you get your reading done. It’s almost supper time. Now get busy.”
“Ok. One day Maurice was out doing his chore, when he saw a cat. He had never seen a cat before. He didn’t know what it was. He didn’t know that he should be afraid. Why wouldn’t he know what a cat is, Cindy? I know what a cat is.”
“Do you know what a Gila Monster is, Carrie? If you’ve never seen one or heard of one before, how would you know to be afraid?”
“What is a Geela Monser, Carrie? Do we have them here? Should I be afraid of it?”
“It’s a giant lizard. No, we don’t have any here. But if we did, you might want to stay away from it. Read.”
“Maurice wanted to get closer to the cat. He wanted to make friends with it. Uh oh! Is Maurice in trouble?”
“Yep. He sure is.”
“What is he going to do? Carrie?”
“Well, you’ve got the book! Read!”
“Maurice crept slowly toward the sleeping cat. The animal had huge paws and a long fat tail that twi—twu—Carrie? What’s this word?”
“Twitched.” That means the tail is jerking a little bit..side to side..like this.”
“Why does the cat do that?”
“It probably means he is dreaming. Or it could mean he’s playing possum.”
“Playing possum is pretending to be asleep, like you do when Mom and Daddy peek in on you at night.”
“But I’m getting hungry. Can’t we go in the house now?”
“Sure. But you’ll have to read the rest of the story to Mom.”
“Oh, I will. I want to know what happens to Maurice.”
“Yeah. Me too. Hey, don’t forget your book!”
“Oh, yeah. Thanks, Cindy. You’re the bestest sister.”
“Yeah, I know. You’re pretty special yourself, Carrie.”