Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Friday September 11, 2015
Today was a mixed day.

My mom called me at work in the morning to tell me that our Uncle Tom had passed away. This was much expected as he was in hospice and hadn’t been doing well lately, so we all knew it was a matter of time (he had had ALS for many years).

Later on I had time to go to a couple garage sales during lunch and scored some bargains. I haggled the price of a bag of goods down from $25 to $20, so I was proud of myself.

Not long after I got back to the office a monsoon blew through (though it has been sunny all morning up to that point). A tree branch snapped over on Emerald Parkway (a street just a few miles from our office) and took down a power line with it. Hence, at around 2:30pm or soon thereafter, our entire building was plunged into darkness. Once we reached our local electric company who said power wasn’t likely to be restored for several hours, my boss sent us home.

This makes two Fridays in a row where we’ve had storms blow through and two weeks in a row where we’ve been sent home early one day (though last time it was due to a computer virus).

I don’t have any pictures from the storm since there wasn’t very much debris in our yard after this one, though there were certainly a lot of leaves and twigs from the previous week’s. We now have a pretty good heap of wood to burn in our chiminea.

Saturday September 12, 2015
Because I got my purses and t-shirts all sorted on Friday, I decided to reward myself with a movie and shopping trip. The weather kind of lent itself to spending time indoors, at least in the morning since it was a bit chilly and overcast.

I had wanted to see, “A Walk in the Woods,” based on Bill Bryson’s 1998 book of the same name. Apparently Robert Redford bought the rights to the book shortly after reading it, but hadn’t done anything with it until a year or so ago when he finally got around to shooting the movie. Originally he had wanted it to star himself and his friend, Paul Newman, but that plan obviously got nixed because Newman passed away in 2008. It’s just as well since I think Nick Nolte did a pretty good job capturing the essence of Bryson’s friend, Stephen Katz.

There were only seven of us in the theatre, and I was most definitely the youngest one there. What can I say, Bill Bryson has fans of all ages! Everyone seemed to enjoy it, and I heard the seniors laughing at several of Katz’ antics. I asked one of the ladies afterwards if she had ever read the book, and she said she hadn’t. It’s been a long time since I read it, so I was curious how faithfully Redford’s adaptation followed the text. So far it seems that just the laundromat scene and the bit at the hotel where Mary Steenburgen’s character chats with Bill Bryson’s character, was manufactured. Otherwise, it seems a fairly faithful adaptation, like Redford promised, though apparently Bryson gave him carte blanche to change whatever he wanted.

At the end of the day it won’t win any Oscars, but it was enjoyable all the same and a nice way to spend a couple hours on a Saturday afternoon.

Since I don’t have any pictures from the movie, but I do have photos of hikers, this will have to do:

Sunday September 13, 2015
Today I made another trip to Goodwill to drop off some donations and pick up a few items that I had passed up the day before (mostly kitchen items, but clothes too).

Walking around a Goodwill store one can’t help but notice how much a reflection it is on what’s popular, or rather what was popular, but is now passé in the world of electronics, kitchen gadgets, clothing and accessories, just to name a few. I noticed stuffed animals no longer have a place on the shelf. In fact, this branch of Goodwill seemed to lack much in the way of kids’ toys altogether, not that that’s a bad thing; merely an observation.

After trying on more than a dozen pairs of jeans and having the poor Goodwill volunteer unlock the dressing room door at least half a dozen times, I narrowed my selection of clothes down to: a pair of jeans, a pair of dressy slacks, a pair of shorts, a shirt, and a blazer (the previous day I bought a cardigan and a jumper).

Suffice it to say I ended up buying probably as much as I donated, but at least it’s all for charity!

Monday September 14, 2015
A beautiful autumn day with temperatures in the 70s, sunny and bright. Hence, I didn’t mind getting out of work early to drive up to northeast Ohio for my Uncle Tom’s calling hours. My sister, Karen, had phoned me earlier in the morning to ask if we could take my car instead since she was having battery issues with hers. As she still volunteered to do some of the driving, I readily agreed (I especially hate driving the freeways in Columbus – at least until you get past the Worthington corridor clusterf*&k.

I wasn’t quite sure what music she liked, other than the Gin Blossoms and Fastball, whom we saw in concert back in July. For a bit of nostalgia we started out with the soundtrack to “Pretty Woman.” It didn’t really matter since it was only background for our (okay – my!) constant chatter. Still, it made the long drive go faster and we made good time arriving shortly after the 6pm start time.

We only arrived a few minutes after my parents and soon saw several people we knew, so we spent the next couple of hours catching up with relatives we hadn’t seen since the calling hours for my aunt nearly four years ago this same month. My sister and I agreed we’re definitely going to have to attend one of the annual family reunions held every August in Altoona, PA. However, we also both agree the reunion needs to be a stop on the way either to or from somewhere else. First thought was Hershey Park, but it appears to be about two and a half hours drive from Altoona. Still, no further than how far we are from northeast Ohio, so I suppose that’s doable. None of us have ever been to Philadelphia either, so that’s another possibility.

After a couple hours of trading stories, looking at pictures, and taking a trip down memory lane, it was time for the party to break up (literally since calling hours were supposed to be over at 8pm) and for us to hit the road back to Columbus, so we said our good-byes and grabbed our souvenir CD. How cool is that??? Who’d have thought you’d leave a funeral with a goody-bag? (we didn’t, but it sounds more poetic).
This is me with my Aunt Jane (d. 2011) and Uncle tom (d. 2015) on my First Communion. Incidentally, they were my sister's Godparents.

Apparently Tom Jr., or “Tommy” to all of us who grew up with him, was up until 3am compiling songs that he and his father had sung together over the last 40 years or so. I believe there’s 9 tracks plus an intro. Expertly done and what a wonderful gift. Way to go Tommy! Your dad would be proud.

While the first song played I told my sister that if this was a movie, this would be how the last scene was played out as we rode off into the sunset (although we were way past that point in the evening). Hence, I will end this week’s entry here. Happy trails everyone…

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