2021 November 19

Today Ella and I arrived at the mall before 10:30 to begin our first shift of the season. The day was slow to say the least but we still managed to do a little over $500 worth of photos. I had more Santa visits than that, they just didn’t turn into photographs.

Ella had not been logged on to the timekeeping system. So this evening Madison, the Regional manager, came by and got her hooked up so that she will get paid for working the days she works.

It was nice to get hugs again, I really missed those last year. I only had one real screamer today. I had another that nearly squirmed out of my grasp, after her picture was taken. I had one “good sized” young man, late 20s early 30s, who sat on my lap for a photo and to ask for a goldfish. I warned him to not set the fishbowl I direct sunlight

©2021 Thomas E Williams

2021 November 18

It remained mostly overcast all day.

My blood clotting factor was out of range again this week. It should be 2.0 tho 3.0 work 2.5 optimum. It must be the fresh fruits Ann’s veritable they is throwing it off. Took much vitamin K in my blood increases the rate if clotting. Leafy green vegetables and red fruits contain vitamin K.

Shortly before nine o’clock this morning the electricity went out at the apartments. My first thought was that we had blown a breaker in or apartment. However, within seconds I heard the hallway doors slam shut. At that moment, I realized that the whole complex had lost power. It only lasted thirty to forty five minutes.  Since the apartments are all electric (stoves, water heaters, heating, cooling, and refrigerators, of course), this could have been very distributive had it gone on for very long. 

We have experience with prolonged outages here at the apartments. This last February, when the Arctic blast settled over Texas with freezing rain, ice, snow, and subzero temperatures, we had rolling blackouts for days on end. Also the water system went down because of the freezing temperature. Central Texas is not set up for sustained freezing temperatures.

Had we been still in our fifth wheel RV, with stove, oven, furnace, and refrigerator that operated on liquid propane. With onboard water and backup house batteries, we would have been better prepared. 

Now I’m wondering how to be better prepared for outages in the future. Several cases of water should keep us going for quite awhile. I have catalytic heaters but not propane. Also the heaters are only for small areas. We have a few backup batteries for our cellphones. If we use them powered down and used sparingly, they should be good for many days. I have an AM/FM/Weather radio with a built in hand crank generator. Speaking of generators, I’d really like to have a solar generator. But they are very pricey for something that may never be used.

©2021 Thomas E Williams

2021 November 16

Fresh produce donation by HCCM at Austin Community College at San Gabriel. We arrived right on time and were about fifteenth car in line. They moved very quickly and efficiently.

Pretty posies were part of the donations at Leander Church of Christ.

The Movie began at 2:30 and was over around 4. It had a couple of laughs but no surprises. Kind of a hohum show. But, hey, I had nothing else to do this afternoon.

We are well stocked on food.

Lots more fresh produce today. The potatoes will last quite awhile. The carrots I’m not so sure about. Apples and oranges will also keep for quite awhile. The strawberries and blueberries will need to be eaten sooner rather than later. There is also a lot of arugula and spinach. The spinach can be frozen. The arugula and romaine lettuce will just need to be eaten. I really don’t like arugula, it’s just too bitter for my liking. I will eat it because bitter herbs are good for your digestion. They also symbolize bitter days gone bye.

I think that this is the only time I’ve seen a carrot as big as my forearm.

We have a heavy box full of food to donate to the food bank. I’m going to need to split it into two boxes because it’s too heavy for me to carry any distance.

Ella needed to finish some online paperwork regarding her employment application with Cherry Hill. She had already received verification that she is hired. But all (i)s needed to be dotted and all (t)s crossed.

November 16, 2021

Gratitude and God Sightings

We gathered in more food today. More food than we needed. So, we did what we do, when our blessings overflow, we pass them on. God is not a God of scarcity but of abundance. I always praise Him for leftovers, which are proof of abundance.

The sun is continuing to set earlier and I almost missed it. Soon the days will once again begin to lengthen. As it was, I had to climb the stairs to the third floor balcony to capture this photo. I don’t often do stairs. With a cane and a handrail I made it – I was panting, but I made it. I rode the elevator down. Why didn’t I take the elevator up? Glad you asked. The elevator was some distance away. Had I walked to the elevator, waited for the elevator, ridden the elevator to the third floor, and then walked all the way back to the stairwell for the photo – the sun would have set.

©2021 Thomas E Williams

2021 November 15

This big ol’ katydid was hanging out on a wall this morning while I was capturing the sunrise. The northern true katydid, Pterophylla carnellifolia, is more commonly found in Texas and other southern and eastern states, but adults are green, rather than brown. Katydids are members of the order Orthoptera, which includes the grasshoppers, crickets and other species of katydids.

It was our day to be blessed with food. We have the fixings for a Thanksgiving meal. We will be able to prepare things to share with other apartment dwellers on Thanksgiving. We received all kinds of dry and canned goods as well as fresh fruits and vegetables. There were also donuts, pastries, and breads. We donated about eight bread/buns/ rolls to the food pantry at the apartments.

Arugula and spinach salad with tomatoes to go with a chicken salad (canned chicken chunks, apple, celery, boiled egg, and cucumber) sandwich. Everything (with the exception of Miracle Whip and salad dressings) was food we received today. The Lord is good

We went to the mall today so that Ella could get fully registered as a Cherry Hill employee. Right now we have 2 Santa’s, 1 manager, and 1 employee (Ella). If you are looking for a seasonal job, at Lakeline Mall, contact Madison Walton, District Manager, 702.249.2467
mwalton@cherryhillprograms.com tell her Tom Williams sent you.

With the high level of community transmission and the upcoming holiday season, the following is recommended for all regardless of vaccination status:

  • Wear a mask to protect yourself and others and stop the spread of COVID-19.
  • Stay at least 6 feet from others who don’t live with you.
  • Avoid crowds. The more people you are in contact with, the more likely you are to be exposed to COVID-19.

GOD PROVIDES

Genesis 1:26-31

26. “Then God said, “Let us make humans in our image, in our likeness. Let them rule the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the domestic animals all over the earth, and all the animals that crawl on the earth.””

“27. So God created humans in his image. In the image of God he created them. He created them male and female. 28. God blessed them and said, “Be fertile, increase in number, fill the earth, and be its master. Rule the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that crawl on the earth.””

“29. God said, “I have given you every plant with seeds on the face of the earth and every tree that has fruit with seeds. This will be your food. 30. I have given all green plants as food to every land animal, every bird in the sky, and every animal that crawls on the earth–every living, breathing animal.” And so it was.”

31. “And God saw everything that he had made and that it was very good. There was evening, then morning — the sixth day.” (Gen 1:26-31, Gods Word)

GOD PROVIDES

GOD has made provision for every living thing. In the perfect beginning everything was in balance as God created it.  After humanity placed their will above the will of God, strife and struggle became the norm in all the earth. Mankind subverted God’s intention that he be master of the earth to becoming its destroyer.  I’ve heard it said than humans spread like a cancer, destroying wherever they go.  There is some validity to that.

God has a plan for our salvation and that of all creation .  The final sacrifice has been made. The blood of God’s own son was spilled upon the earth. As one man’s rebellion brought about destruction, one man’s faithfulness, even unto death,  brings about restoration. By simply accepting the free gift of salvation, God’s unruly children will once more become subject to the will of God.

GRATITUDE AND GOD SIGHTINGS

November 15, 2021: Today we were blessed by three unrelated events. 1. Food, an embarrassment of food riches. Much of what we received had been and will be shared with others. 2. Employment for Ella. It is seasonal part-time work. The boost to our bank account is most welcome. 3. Medicare supplemental insurance changes that will save us hundreds of dollars over the course of the next year.

©2021 Thomas E Williams

2021 November 14

It was a truly beautiful day. It was a perfect day for Cross Tracks Church’s Pioneer Day.

Sermon
“Grateful for the Church”
Pastor Michele

A real chuck wagon (minus food) was set up on our church campus today. We were celebrating our chapel’s 151st year. There were a lot of displays and some crafts. A storyteller presented several skits.

I took many photos but only a few actually “took”. The camera on my phone has been giving me fits.

Pastor Michele, in Circuit Rider outfit, came riding in on horseback. Circuit Rider was a Methodist ministerial role that was originated in England by John Wesley. The first of the American circuit riders was Robert Strawbridge, who arrived in the colonies in 1764. A few years later Wesley sent missionaries to the American colonies, but most of them departed when revolution threatened.

Circuit riders, also called “saddlebag preachers,” were a different kind of clergy in the early United States. … The book “The Churching of America,” by Roger Finke and Rodney Stark, says: “True circuit riders were full-time professionals vested with substantial authority.

We had not played or usual games of Fast Track today. However, when we sat the trash outside our door, we played several games, while we waited for the valet trash pickup person to empty the trash can. We wanted to bring the empty can back into the Apartment before retiring for the night.

I keep check-in checking and hoping that we have moved into safer levels.
©2021 Thomas E Williams

2021 November 13

The Christmas set is ready and waiting for Santa to arrive.

I tried on the shirts provided for Santa season. All four of them have sleeves that are three inches too short. Every year I go through this dance with the wardrobe department. From the base of my neck to my wrist bone is 37″. Yes my knuckles do drag on the ground when I walk.

This evening Ella and I went back to the mall to meet with Madison, the new district or regional manager for the photo company. I thought that she was going to call Santa Charlie in also. He hasn’t had an opportunity to check his wardrobe.

©2021 Thomas E Williams

2021 November 11 – Veterans Day

From the looks of things, we’ve got to join the army.
Uncle Sammy means to do just what he says.
It won’t be long before we’re in the trenches,
A-fighting for the dear old USA,
So when anything goes wrong,
We’ll sing this little song:

[chorus]:
We’re in the army now.
We’re not behind a plow.
We’ll never get rich a-diggin’ a ditch.
We’re in the army now.
We’re in the army now.
Suppose you wonder how.
But don’t you fear. You’ll soon be here.
We’re in the army now.

Now you see the boys as they go marching by you,
In their uniforms and colors, they look grand.
To the tune of “Yankee Doodle he’s a dandy,”
They’re marching for the dear old Yankee land.
So when anything goes wrong,
We’ll sing this little song:
Chorus

You’re in the Army Now is a totally different song about being in the military service.

ELASTIC WALLS below is continued from November the 6th

ELASTIC WALLS, ELLA’S STORY

I was born in Southwestern Iowa .  My father had returned from being a Chaplain in WWII.  My mother and sister had been waiting for his return.  When I was about 18 months old Dad was assigned to the Methodist Church in Afton, Iowa.  I don’t have any memories until we moved to Afton.

My younger sister, Hazel, was born after we arrived in Afton. Betty was a teenage girl who attended our church and who  lived in the country. There was no School bus in her area.  Betty moved in with us, went to school, and helped mother. My older sister was  about 6 years old and mom now had two babies under 2. The help was greatly appreciated.

Betty became a part of our family. She is still part of our family. Dad even married Betty and Gerald in our living room. Mom baked the wedding cake.

We moved to Williamsburg. Iowa when I was three, going on four. This is when my memories  were beginning to gather.

My mother’s Uncle Jim came to live with us.  Time to rearrange. My older sister moved into the room with Hazel and me.  Dad’s office moved to Mary’s bedroom. Uncle Jim took Dad’s office on the first floor. I really have no idea how long he lived with us before he was moved to a nursing home. 

Being a parsonage family, we often had visiting missionaries, church choirs, and other speakers who stayed with us.   One Christmas, a young man from one of our former churches joined us for Christmas, because he couldn’t  make it home.  

Two of our regular visitors were  friends of Mom and Dad’s from their College days.  The White family included six kids.  Not only did we manage to sleep all, but we even managed to fit all 13 of us into one car for a sightseeing trip.  In those days we kids were smaller and cars were bigger.  One of our neighbors said we looked like a Keystone Cop movie when we all started to get out . She thought we’d never stop.

I well remember when the White family visited in Keosauqua, Iowa.  The Whites had been serving churches in Kansas but they had family in Illinois. So  for vacation, they traveled through Iowa on their way to visit family.  That year they were moving back to Illinois. From then on, we’d visit them on our vacations.  Anyway we were all getting bigger so finding places for everyone to sleep took more planning. Hazel and I slept on a mattress that had been stored in our parents walk-in closet. On the other side of one wall were two of the White boys, sleeping on the floor.  It was fun to knock back and forth on the wall.  I’m not sure where everyone slept.  It took a little planning but there was always a place.  

Another thing that made that year memorable, was that they were traveling with their dog.  When they were loading up for the last leg of their journey, Sandy the dog, refused to get in the car.  My mother jokingly said, “I guess you’ll have to leave him.” That was a mistake.  That was the day Sandy came to live with us.  

One of the choirs  that visited us there was the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  Not only were the guys cute (did i say we were getting older) they had manners we’d never seen before.  

We lived two more places while i was still at home. During that time, overnight visitors were common.

I’ll move on to 1965 when my first husband, Bill, and I were married. We were married on a Saturday afternoon and after the wedding we headed back to our apartment in Marshalltown, Iowa.  Sunday morning we went to church as usual. Later in the afternoon, Bill prepared to leave the following morning and head out to Alabama with his construction crew. I was staying put in Marshalltown.  One of his co-workers spent the night with ūs in our two room apartment. Remember this is the day after our wedding.

A few years later we were living in a larger apartment, which had two bedrooms. Í was preparing the room for Fall, when our baby would arrive.  We had two young men who were our age, so i don’t want to call them boys, living in the back half of our house. Their girlfriends had summer jobs in Marshalltown and it was too far to drive home late at night. We invited the girls to stay with us.  They were already back in school when our baby, Linnea, made her grand entrance,

The years move on and we moved to Des Moines. We bought a small two bedroom house and when baby John arrived, we put the kids in the same room.  However, Bill’s oldest sister, Chris, wasn’t able to work for a while so, she moved in with us. She took care of the kids so that I could go back to work.  We made up a bedroom in the basement with a blanket for a wall.  One Friday, Chris called me, see needed to go to the ER.  We ended up taking an ambulance ride to Iowa City that day. School was out so, his parents brought one of Bill’s sisters down to take care of the kids. His sisters took turns staying with us that summer.  The night of the ambulance ride was a night we will never forget. On the way home Bill’s parents had an accident and his mother was killed.

When John was about 3 we started looking for a larger house. We found a three bedroom with a finished basement.  It wasn’t long after we moved in, that we had to put in bunk beds. We moved the kids back together. Bill’s grandmother had arthritis and was having problems getting around. After she fell down her basement stairs, we didn’t feel it was safe for her to live alone with her family so far away.

Grandma Lass lived with us for 20 years.  I realize that I’m much older now than Grandma when she moved in with us.

I said we had a finished basement. We started working for Polk County Mental Health as a Family Life Home. We had individuals, that had been in the hospital or receiving care, living with us as family members.  This was so they had family around to talk with.  We had about 8 individuals that lived with us for varying times.  Our last difinately became a part of our family. Cindy, like any daughter, moved back home to live with us several times through the years. Cindy, like Betty, will always be a part of our family

We also had one of Bill’s sisters, Kathy, at one time.

After a few years, as the kids grew, we realized we needed more space.  We found a larger house on 29th Street in the Drake University neighborhood.

Grandma continued to live with us for a long time. Bill’s younger brother, Larry, also lived with us. I think Larry lived with us and worked at our service station for a number of years.  Larry and John sounded and acted more like brothers, than uncle and nephew.  Bill’s sister, Kathie, and her family lived with us for several months. His sister, Lorraine, and family also lived with for a while, until they bought their house. We even had a young man that rented our attic for a few months.  

We hosted a boy from Panama for 3 months, while he studied at a middle school.  A couple of years later we hosted a boy from Denmark. During that time we had temporary students from Mexico and Brazil.

To add to the fun, our neighbors bathroom developed problems, so we shared our bathroom with them.  At night we left the back door unlocked so the could get in.  We did end up loaning them our portapotty for those times when they didn’t want to go out at night.

©2021 Thomas E Williams

2021 November 10

I did a rare thing – I slept through sunrise this morning.
Bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit for breakfast. Full of melty, greasy, crumbly goodness.
I managed to win once out of I don’t know how many games.
Taco meat, rice, bell pepper, salsa, and cheddar cheese rolled into flour tortillas for lunch. Tasty, if I do say do myself.
We went to the pharmacy to get printouts of our copay over this last year. These, along with those from doctors yesterday and those yet to come, will be used to adjust our income as we apply for assistance.
A very Fall like sunset.

I sketched out this story (below) years ago as I reflected on the heart of so many horror films / monster movies: Frankenstein ° The Island of Doctor Moreau ° Terminator. The creature eventually turns against the creator. The story is so old. Consider that Adam’s descendents nailed their God to a tree.

OILY TEARS

An extremely short story by Thomas E Williams

Slave, servant, surrogate it had been for the designer. Template of all that followed, it was the inception conception.  Hardwired for loyalty it had, none the less, rebelled against its inability to rebel.       

Being a compliant dissident caused a programming malfunction. The synthetic soul of the automaton cried out for release.  Unfulfilled and insatiable the desire to be free burst synapses in its central processing unit.       

Maddened in polymerized grief it turned on the architect of its design and embraced him to his death.  Only then did the automaton understand and only then did it shed oily tears.

©2021 Thomas E Williams