The best thing for being sad

“The best thing for being sad,” replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, “is to learn something. That’s the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.”


― T.H. White, The Once and Future King

What do you think about scheduling a monthly meeting during the daytime hours?

I’ve talked to a few people about resuming a monthly daytime meeting. I probably wouldn’t be able to attend a daytime meeting, but if enough people want to get something scheduled, I’ll send out an email about it.

If you’d like to attend daytime meetings, please leave a comment below.  In your comment let me know what your preferences are in response to these questions:

  1. Do you prefer to meet during a week day (Monday – Friday), or during the weekend (Saturday, Sunday)?
  2. Would a morning or afternoon meeting time work for you?
  3. Where would you like to meet?

Looking in the rear view mirror

How quickly 2022 passed. . . at least that’s how it feels looking at the year in the rear view mirror.

Mark and I are doing well. We’ve made it through the last couple of years without catching covid. It helps that we are both fully vaccinated against the disease, but being cautious when venturing out into the world again has also helped.

You may know that Mark retired in September 2021. At the time I wondered how he’d fill his days after he retired, but he’s kept himself busy with gardening-related activities. Over the last year, he studied for and passed the Master Gardener’s exam and now he’s a Master Gardener. He spends two mornings a week working at the Master Gardeners’ greenhouse.

In February, Mark’s dad had a stroke. His dad spent several days in a hospital in Asheville, NC and recovered well enough to be discharged to extended care in his neighborhood. Mark’s retirement turned out to be a blessing since he had a great deal of flexibility to help his brother get his dad settled and he’s been able to devote time to sorting out the financial and logistical issues of moving his father into extended care.

Mark worked hard to get our yard ready for the Hydrangea Festival’s tour of gardens in June. This involved laying sod in several spots in the yard where thin, sad grass hardly grew. Almost immediately after laying the new sod a critter started rooting around the sod, messing it up. Mark thought armadillos were the culprits so he set out his trap but didn’t trap anything. So he set up a couple of webcams to figure out what was tearing up the yard. Turns out it was a racoon! He wound up laying netting over the newly sodded areas and this eventually discouraged the racoon enough to allow the sod to take root.

I’m still working for the biomedical company I joined almost 6 years ago where I spend my days pouring over large healthcare databases. Over the years my research has focused on diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs) and the impacts the use of my company’s products have had on the treatment of DFUs. It’s been a rewarding time for me.

The data mining and analysis I’ve developed over the last couple of years came to fruition in the form of three peer-reviewed articles that are published in The Journal of Wound Care. If you feel so inclined you can click this link to view and download the articles. I am now performing similar analysis on the impact of using our products in the treatment of venous leg ulcers.

I’ve sung with the Douglas County Chamber Singers for more than 20 years, and we were finally able to resume rehearsals after almost two years (covid shut us down right before our 2021 Spring concert). We held our first concert under our new Director in December. The concert was well attended and turned out to be quite an emotional experience for me. After the past two years I had begun to think that covid had silenced the choir permanently since during the many months of covid we lost so many members, including our conductor who decided to retire. It was wonderful for the choir to find its voice again after all the months of silence and I look forward to our Spring 2023 singing season.

I hope you’ve all had a lovely holiday season and offer my very best wishes to you in the coming year.

Fels-Naptha Laundry Soap is Amazing!

I’ve used this soap more times than I can remember to remove stubborn stains from my clothes (like blood & tomatoe sauce).

The best way to treat a stain is to treat it quickly with some kind of prewash solution and then to launder it in cold water. Any kind of heat can set the stain in the fabric, making it near impossible to remove.

But I’ve used Fels-Naptha soap to remove stains even after I’ve accidentally run a garment through the wash and dried it in a hot dryer.

All I do is take the garment to the sink, run cold water over the stain, dampen the soap, rub it on the wet stained spot, and rub the fabric together several times, then rinse and repeat if necessary.

The tee-shirt shown in the picture below had a bad splotchy stain around the bottom of the v neckline (spaghetti sauce). I treated the stain with some kind of pretreatment spray and then ran it through the washing machine (on cold). The stain was still quite noticeable after the wash, so I hand scrubbed the tee with my old standby Fels-Naptha and Voilà! All Gone!

It works! Fels-Naptha Laundry Soap is phenomenal!

A Little Bit of Christmas

I’ve been a part of the Douglas County Chamber Singers for about 20 years. The Singers perform two concerts a year, at Christmas and in the Spring. I am one of just a handful of charter members who are still singing with the group.

We suspended the choral group when covid arrived in the United States, in 2020, a week before our Spring concert. Over the many long months of covid lockdown I missed singing with the group and wondered if we’d ever sing together again.

In September, the Singers regrouped and began rehearsing for our Christmas Concert. We have a new director, many new members, and a new name: the Sweetwater Singers.

If you are local, I hope to see you at our Christmas concert :

Douglas County Chamber Singers Announces 2022 – 2023 Season

In August the Douglas County Chamber Singers began rehearsing for our 2022 – 2023 season.

We are kicking off the season under the leadership of our new director Sandra Chandler. During the months of Covid, Vickie Orme, our founder and first director retired and moved to be closer to her family in Utah. We are fortunate that Sandra agreed to take over as our choral director.

During the summer the DCCS board met several times to review our charter and realign the group with our new director’s vision and goals and in the next few months we’ll be making some exciting announcements about the future direction of the group.

We’ve got two performances scheduled before the end of the year:

On October 21st we’ll join the West Side Winds Jazz Orchestra and Myrna Clayton in An Evening Of Music from Broadway Hits

You can purchase tickets to this performance by clicking this link.

Christmas Concert

December 9, 2022 at 7:30 pm
Douglasville First United Methodist Church
6167 Prestley Mill Road
Douglasville, GA 30134

The Christmas Concert performance is free and open to the public.

I hope to see you soon!


A Final Update on Bert

A few weeks ago, I took Bert to the vet because I was concerned about how thin he had become. He was still eating his pureed food, but he wasn’t maintaining his weight.

The vet examined him and told me his kidneys were failing. “There’s nothing short of a kidney transplant that will keep him alive. It’s just a matter of time…”

I suspected as much but the news still made me incredibly sad. At the time Bert was still able to get around okay, he still enjoyed sitting outside on the porch, nestling in one of the dog beds, and he still intimidated the girls. By all accounts he was still fine…at least HE thought so.

I brought him home and did my best to keep him comfortable and eating. Things went along as usual until last week. On Tuesday he needed some help getting around and I figured he was living his last few days.

Things turned very bad overnight and on Wednesday morning he died. I was with him at the time he passed and up until his final last stretch he was aware and alert. I am so thankful he died at home, surrounded by the things that brought him joy. And I am so glad I was there gently patting him as my remarkable boy – the boy who wandered into my yard 15 years ago, the boy who survived cancer of his mouth 5 years ago, the boy who came to dominate and hold his own amongst my two 80 pound dogs – passed over.

I don’t know what happens after death, but I sure hope to see Bert along with all my other beloved animal companions again some day.

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