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Saturday, June 23, 2007


I was in the middle of watching Heroes and waiting for the destruction of Sylar or NYC, when there came a loud banging on my door. The last time a woman banged on my door, she was madder than a wet hen. Now, I have never seen a wet hen but I have seen a headless hen. The way that ol’ hen was running around, she was allegedly pretty mad, but seemed pretty calm when served with dumplings. So, I checked my peephole.

It was Dawn, one of the other residents. She was shielding her eyes from the light. Seems she was having a cluster headache and had a new prescription for Imitrex.

I have the one thing that every woman in a retirement community wants in a man. I can drive at night. So, we hopped in my car for a quick trip to CVS. She was back out in 6.5 minutes and I gave her a bottle of water. By the time we had driven the mile back home, she was feeling better.

Sometimes, you have to stop watching “Heroes” and try to be one.


A 2007 study by Clemson University found that the average American walks about 900 miles per year. Another study by the American Beer Institute found that Americans drink an average of 22 gallons of beer a year. That means, on average, Americans get approximately 41 miles per gallon - not bad

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Gang activity

The gang sits in the lobby quietly resting their eyes (like I used to do in church before discovering my sleep apnea). Their goal there is to scare away the homeless and potential residents.

Bossy Evelyn gathered some sweet little “olds” around who are willing to follow and obey because they need companionship. What little conversation they have is ‘Alzheimer-ed’ every fifteen minutes. By and large the other residents ignore them – except in the dining room.

They have made a habit of coming in greatly late for meals. As soon as they sit down, the right arm on the puppet string from the ceiling shoots up to demand immediate coffee and dining service. The co-managers have been little aware of the angry comments and glances from other residents because of the perceived special treatment. The manager has told them not to give special treatment.

This morning they came in forty minutes late and the lady in charge told them it was too late for the cereal and juice service. They could still have the breakfast of eggs with biscuits and gravy. You would have thought the Pope had sinned. Bossy Evelyn went to the lady and the manager protesting that she was always being picked on. They stood firm. Hallelujah. The preacher’s wife tried to calm her down.

I went to the Manager’s table and told them they had done the right thing. Bossy yelled “Shut up, shut up, shut up! If I was as ugly as you I would not come out of my apartment.”

The good thing about it all is that she did not remember the next time she saw me. Kudos to the courageous managers.


The man who fell into an upholstery machine is fully recovered.

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Four Months

Was it just four months ago (2/2/2007) that I wrote about the shower for the newly-weds. Some were concerned that he wanted to take the wealthy “wider” for all she had.

Suddenly, yes suddenly, she has sold her home and bought a duplex with him. I was in the office when he came in and demanded “her” deposit. The nuclear flash of anger when he was momentarily refused nearly blinded us.

Both have noised abroad how unhappy they are. They moved out. I fear like the proverbial snake, that when he is through with her, she won’t have a pit to hiss in.


There was a little girl, who had a little curl Right in the middle of her forehead And when she was good, she was very, very good But when she was bad, she got a fur coat, ....jewels, and a sports car......

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Wandering through Athens with his lighted lamp in daytime, Diogenes sought for an honest man. He chose to be a beggar and public scold. I think I have found one.

Dad chose to be a scold who catalogued and warned about every sin of the 20th Century. I was shocked after I told him I was going to Las Vegas for an NASSP Conference. His only comment was, “Don’t lose all your money.” I had fully expected the usual vice-principal morality lecture.

Over the years, I have handed friends a fiver to gamble for me when they were going. It’s an American custom. I never received any winnings. Maybe it was because I did not expect any.

This week, Robert went gambling in Indiana. He and another were handed $5.00 each. Robert increased his to $10.00 on the slot machine. He increased the second fiver to $16.00. I was there when he handed $26.00 to the surprised donor. At last, an honest man.
Elsewhere, we were reading the daily newsletter and the following conversation occurred.

Kathie: “What is ball salad?”

We all read the first two words on the back of the menu: “ball salad”. When turned over the menu item, in total, read, “Melon ball salad.”

Anonymous: “Were you thinking of sheep?”


It is hard to write funny stuff when you have the government to compete with!

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“You’ve got to meet her”, she said. “She’s under 60, real young, cute and ‘rat’ attractive.”

I met her. So far, she has not attracted any of the rats here. We talked about Geezerville. About how I prefer eating lunch at the first sitting when the food is hotter and fresher. Occasionally, it is even hot – especially the fried chicken.

She still sits in the back, second sitting, dining room. Sometimes I see her walking across the lobby in her Maidenform Cross-My-Navel Bar.

While we’re in the dining room, they’ve started using table tent menus. When I suggested that two years ago, the manager pooh-poohed me out of the office. Sometimes little seeds germinate.


Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.

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New chef again.

We hired a new chef last week. Magnificent qualifications. He was the “from scratch” chef on several cruise ships. I predicted he would last until Wednesday. He started today: Monday morning. As usual, the dilettantes in the kitchen refused to follow instructions. Our new chef is ready to jump ship. Seems simple to me: fire the dilettantes. They’ve done this over and over. (I lost. He made it until Tuesday.)

We had major electricity problems yesterday. Our self-appointed manager-in-charge was upset that Jim, the co-manager on duty, called NES without her permission. It was not an NES problem since electricity was flowing into the building. Now, she thinks she and off-duty spouse have to decide what to do. Seems simple to me. It is broken. Fix it. People are commenting that they will be glad when the manager gets back to bring her under control.


Chocolate covered raisins, cherries, orange slices and
strawberries all count as fruit, so eat as many as you want.


Stir Crazy

Days around here are pretty routine. Saturdays and Sundays, I stay in to avoid all the wild drivers and crazed shoppers.

I wake up normally between 5:00 and 6:00. Only set the alarm for Sunday morning so I can watch Chris Matthews and worship with my two wildly divergent preachers. It has been a while since I slept through a Sunday morning service at church.

Mornings start with water pills and the blood check. Usually have to eat an orange to bring it up to 100. I would eat breakfast in the dining room, but don’t like to wait until mid-morning, so I fix my own. Today I made a burrito.

The morning is spent working on Resident’s Association stuff and deleting all those can’t live without emails. The funniest emails are those offering to refinance the mortgage on my rental apartment. This morning I compiled the monthly food suggestion box report.

Lunch is almost always in the dining room. I cherish those days when my daughter takes us somewhere for lunch. It ranges from Ethiopian to Mexican. My favorite is Thai. After lunch, I check into the office for the latest info needed for the residents.

When I worked in a cubicle, I had to sit for my siesta. Here, I can lie down with my CPAP sombrero over my head. All of us who worked in cubicles in my office periodically exploded out because they were getting compression crazy.

By Wednesday, I have to get out of here and just go somewhere in my car. Tomorrow, I go to Skyline Hospital for a routine blood test. Doing my part to keep Skyline in business, I go once a week for one reason or another. I listen to novels as I drive. The current humor is “You Suck”, a novel about teen-age ingénue vampires – but it could be about hospital labs.

Those who do not have cars take our bus to major points of attraction, such as, The Dollar Tree. The bus runs three or more days a week.

What got me on this line of thinking was wondering about those who cannot get out at all. What do they do about their personal stir-crazy?


Imus Fired From Radio Show for Racist, Insensitive Remarks
Will be replaced by Howard Stern

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A couple years ago, the elevator closed on and bruised my shoulder. The elevator repairman came out and proved I was nuts or a fraud because it could not happen - ever. There have been several incidents since.

It closes regularly on Nevvy’s front walker wheel, but that is her fault. She is still reflexing to yesterday’s stimuli.

Last week, the door closed on Teeny, cut her fragile arm and caused her to bleed.

We need for the elevator repairman to return and show Teeny that she is nuts and just imagined the flowing blood.


When an old man dies, a library is lost.

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Ten newbies

We have ten new residents. And I hear there are more yet to move in. They were brought here by their care-giver from another facility which was giving poor service. So far, they all have one handicap or another.

They common belief is that they are more handicapped (HA) than we are (Double HAHA). They seem to be accepting our handicaps more easily than we, as a group, are accepting their’s. We are just used to our own set of demented, crippled, manic, depressed, and abusive residents.

The whispering campaign has begun to get their care-giver thrown out while keeping them. It would help if the proprietor of the in-house care-giving services had legally clean hands.


Wrinkle therapy? How silly. My wrinkles don't hurt.

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The Rose

The Rose was planted here not much longer than I. At first we dined between Cur and Mudgeon down front on the right. I moved away fairly quickly searching for positive mental food at the table. The Rose stayed where she was planted.

After a bit, she suffered a stroke and was gone for a long time. She was not the same Rose when she returned. Conversation had turned to mumbles. Her shoulders stooped; she kept her head bowed.

Last night, while we were sleeping, Rose wilted and died.


There is no such thing as arthritis of the tongue.

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What coulda been

Charlene dreamed of building a first-class Geezerville to compete with our worn and broken appearance. Driving by the old Madison Hospital one day, I thought about what a wonderful possibility was there. It could be an independent living retirement/assisted living/nursing home and motel for visiting relatives under one set of connected roofs.

The owners sold it cheap to the owner of Hobby Lobby. He, in turn, gave it to Bill Gothard Ministries for a massive tax write-off. The building sat fallow for years with an empty parking lot the size of a Super Wal-Mart's.

Driving by yesterday, I saw a sign for Accelerated Christian Education. Naturally, I came home and Googled the phrase. It is Bill Gothard's baby.

"Accelerated Christian Education, which provides curricula for home schools and church-based Christian schools, has moved its corporate headquarters from Tampa, Fla., to Nashville, Tenn. The company will employ 250 people in Nashville, including 100 at the corporate headquarters and 150 to be hired at a future distribution facility.

The corporate headquarters will be staffed by 62 employees making the move from Tampa and another 38 to be hired locally. The company's headquarters will be located in the former Memorial Hospital building at 610 W. Due West Ave., in Madison.

Founded in 1970 in Garland, Texas, A.C.E. assists local churches in starting Christian schools, providing K-12 curriculum and staff training. The A.C.E. curriculum and program are used in more than 6,000 Christian schools in 138 countries providing services to more than 1 million students a year with more than 1,000 contract affiliate employees."

Even when they have all 100 employees, there will still be room for an independent living retirement/assisted living/nursing home and motel for visiting relatives under one set of connected roofs. Then, they could really minister to folks who need them. All we need is a visionary dreamer with money.

"I like Ike" for President!

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Saturday, May 05, 2007

My cannon recital

Out of the wild blue yonder, I received the following emails.

Hi Asa, I am having my students come this Saturday and next Saturday to play at Geezerville during lunch time. However, I think only one student will be there this Saturday (everyone's schedule is crazy this spring).

The cool thing is that the one student who wants to play this Saturday is doing the 1812 Overture with me (1P4H). Would you like to be the cannon? (Nothing crude, you know!). I can bring a medium sized drum and you can whack at the designated times like the student who will play the timpani at our recital. If you decline I will certainly understand because this request does sound bizarre. Attached is the music. (I would include the mp3 but system servers would kick it out. If you want, I can send it individually to a personal email.)

Actually, I keyed it all in from an electric piano, but I have a sound module that "kicks butt" connected to my laptop where I can make the mp3s. That sound module has the most amazing stuff on it, like the "One," "Two," "Three" voice, explosions, many different types of applause (stadium, coffee house, cheering with whistles), dog barks, trains, along with orchestral instruments, rock'n out stuff, just crazy! (Hard to use the applause in an offertory at church.) Sandy

The day arrived. The 1812 Overture needs a tympani. Have you ever tried get a drum the size and shape of a VW into a Toyota? Sandy finally settled on a clean plastic paint bucket and a heavy duty rubber mallet from Lowe’s. It would work better if there was an opening underneath for resonance. We tested it first on Sandy’s foot. After resetting the metatarsal arch, we ready to begin.

But, first, Patty Proboscis just had to come over and ask what was going on. I resisted the temptation to tell her we were getting ready to make gravy for the turkey. I do not know why she irritates me so much, but she does… I am not alone in this, but I diverted.

We were ready to boom. I placed the “drum” on a Baptist hymnal. “The Solid Rock”, you know. The one piano and four hands was magnificent. I missed a couple beats, but we finished with a resounding almost thunder.

You are welcome to attend the encore recital this Saturday lunch.


My ship just came in.
I was at the airport.

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Monday, April 02, 2007


Daily, we have a half-page news sheet. It lists those in the hospital, those who up and died, schedule for today and tomorrow, the day’s menus, a profound thought, and a wordsearch puzzle. Having nothing great to do, I wondered if it would be interesting to make searches of the residents here.

Google found this program for me. To see the Windlands’ puzzles click on “User listed puzzles”; then on “Misc: Things that don't fit elsewhere”. Scroll down to the Windlands puzzles. I made ten; one for each livable floor. Unlisted persons were not included lest their families find them.

I even started one for the Sparks family tree but need to add the various pets, such as, Boo and Bella.

And that is what happens when you have just enough time on your hands.


Blonde Suicide Bomber Attack Leaves One Dead

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007


Whooee. One inch of snow shower has closed the world all around us. Kids everywhere are rejoicing. There is no need to go out any further than on my balcony to enjoy the view. It surely is pretty first thing in the morning.

Whoopee. One of our unclaimed blessings has been claimed. Married her a man, she did. Now her feet can stay warm at night. A two-inch shower is planned.

Whopeedoo. A three-inch shower was given yesterday for the expected fraternal twins: a boy and a girl. Thought our administrative assistant was going to have to pay for the cake. I had decided to not let her do that and was going to split the cost with her. A last minute reprieve from the manager saved us both. Big crowd attended – more than for bingo, even. One of the great things about the over 60 crowd, they don’t have enough breath to ooh and aah over every opened gift.

BTW, the baby shower was for our Chef and his beloved. The three showers are neither connected nor consecutive.


Have you heard about the agnostic, dyslexic insomniac?
She took a sleeping pill and felt much better.

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The Table

When I could no longer endure the cacophony at my favorite table in the back corner,
I looked around for a new place to enjoy my lunches. Spotting one near the front I moved there for peace and relative quiet. Franny thought I was a dirty-old-man (DOM) because I had sat with the other two “young” men at breakfast. They did not have stellar reputations. Unlike the real DOM, Mr. Wolf, who last bathed in 1999, I rather enjoy being a DOM.

Occasionally when the back corner table was full, Franny would sit with me down front. Despite my cherished reputation as a DOM, she enjoyed talking with me during meals. Many of us cannot hold a conversation beyond the menu and the weather. As time progressed, we became great friends who shared many stories over our meals. Her daughters became my extended family and I, theirs.

When she finally was confined to her apartment, two of her close friends joined me at “The Table.” Fine ladies; I enjoyed their company and would still. However, right after Franny passed on, two other women claimed seats at the table where I sit. It is not “my” table. They, too, are fine ladies. One of them can hear pretty well.

Yesterday, another woman made a comment about my “harem”. Guess I am back to being a DOM.

The angry phone call last week has prompted me to change my position. There is too much risk for revenge. After much thought and prayer I have determined that the situation at Windlands cannot be fixed. Henceforth, I will endeavor to avoid references to the management.


Remember to turn off your lapel mike when in the restroom.

The following post is based on an experience when I was 13 and had a Lexington Leader paper route.

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“But, Dad …”

“I know you have been scared of dogs since you were thirteen when that dog jumped out of a car and bit you on the arm. You should have confronted your fear back then and taken care of what has now become a major phobia.”

“But, Dad …”

“I’ve talked with her owner and she does not even remember the incident it was so minor. In fact, she says that Precious has never attacked anyone.”

“But, Dad …”

“She has even agreed to helping with our little challenge. You just have to screw up your courage and walk by the open front door of her car – and nothing will happen.”

“But, Dad …”

“Besides, Precious is pretty elderly in dog years. She is too old to attack anyone. She said she would put Precious on the front seat of the car so you can walk by and conquer your fear. Look, there she is at the window watching and waiting for you to show your courage as a grown man. Go on. We will all be proud of you.”

“But, Dad …”

“Sometimes, I wonder if you have a single iota of courage. They should have named you after Leo, the cowardly lion. Let go of my arm! That hurts.”

“But, Dad …”

“Oh, alright, you namby-pamby, I will get out and walk to the front door to show that it is perfectly safe! If you do not walk up there after this, you are through as my son.”
(car door slams)

“See, perfectly safe. There is nothing to fear …”

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Sunday, January 14, 2007

“Asa Sparks New Counselor of the Year” award

In December, I sent out a copy of the article about the winner of the “Asa Sparks New Counselor of the Year” award. This created a small flurry of responses. I have struggled personally about writing an answer. At the end, I decided that my perspective of the historical parts of the Alabama counseling story need to be told.

Cast your bread upon the water and it will get soggy.

The book, In His Steps, had a profound effect on my life. I resolved to live by that lofty motto. Naturally, I failed, but WWJD has always been a goal. It affected many of my decisions and actions – and still does. My failures in meeting the goal are legion. Yet, it is still up there.

After fifteen years in Decatur working with deeply troubled kids, the time came for me to seek new challenges and adventures. I was fortunate to be added to the team of six school counseling specialists: Jimmy, Frances, Sam, Marla, and Susan. Those were heady days. The State Board of Education had adopted the first state-wide School Counseling Plan. Strangely enough, the only opposition came from people in the course of study section. They had been unable to get their anal-compulsive hands on the development of the plan. That lack of understanding and opposition continues to this day.

The legislature required and funded a program for adding school counselors to every school in the state. Some of the local superintendents did not understand the program and we cited them on monitoring visits. Only one superintendent of schools challenged my citations. After a hearing, he lost.

The seven of us planned the first New Counselor Academy. Excitement was in the air as the school counseling trailblazers met for the first time. I wrote a new hand-out for the counselors each year. The Academies continued in the summer for several years and were later connected with the Fall Workshop of the Alabama Counseling Association. Remnants remain in the various sessions today.

Attrition from winning a gender discrimination suit, retirements, and transfers dwindled our numbers down to just me. Since the internal opposition to school counseling continued, I received no help for a couple years. During that period I worked with the committee that published the revised the School Counseling Plan. The team of seven are they who made the new counselor award possible.

My long-ago adopted motto really came in to play at the state. When Julia came to work with me, I told her that my goal was to never leave a counselor discouraged. Most of the time, I think I made it – except for a few counselors who needed discouraging. That always brings to mind those who sat in their office all day and another who counted out all the students’ pills, placed them in one ounce cups, and left them unattended.

My method of evaluating a counselor’s program and effectiveness was to ask her to walk and talk with me in the halls of their school. I watched the interactions between the counselor and the students and teachers. I asked just a few questions. By the time we had returned to the counseling office, I knew all I needed to write my report.

One of the parts I thoroughly enjoyed was serving as the state’s liaison to the Alabama Counseling Association’s Executive Council. That is where I think I personally made a difference for all counselors in the state. Our ListServ was in trouble! I met with ALCA President, Inge, and volunteered to assume responsibility and keep it focused. (This did not include my ever-changing sig lines which irritated some.) Our Executive Director, Chip, now handles the plethora of messages to counselors.

The goal is still up there. Maybe someday I will reach it. AsA

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Friday, January 12, 2007

The clock

The clock in the activities room has been sick for a long, long time. It has run slower and slower. Just like some of us. I have tried to get the “powers that be” to fix it. I even told Old Forgetful, the manager, in front of the residents at our monthly meeting. Nothing happened.

Finally, I took it down and placed it on the Manager’s Table in the dining room. It disappeared almost immediately. I assumed they had replaced the AA battery and had it running again. As soon as I arrived at lunch the next day, one of the residents told me the clock was still cuckoo.

It seems that one of the managers assumed it had been fixed and hung it back up. This time, he took the battery out and told me later that time had permanently stopped – at least for that sick clock. Now, I wonder if Old Forgetful will spring $7.00 for a new one.

From what I understand Elise has a proverbial pack-rat apartment. In addition, she is a minor klepto who takes napkins, sweeteners, and newspapers are places them in her voluminous purse. Lately, when her apartment is full to the brim she skims off the top and throws that “stuff” off her balcony. Management has spoken to her about it several times, but she keeps forgetting.

I would love to take that clock to her eleventh-floor balcony and watch time fly.


There are few things more frustrating than over-authorized, armed, under-informed guardians of the public enforcing statutes they do not know under the premise of "national security

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Grumpy Gertie

Grumpy Gertie intrigues me. She has what may be the best blonde hair in the building. But, her face is in a perpetual frown. She started to smile at a waitress the other night and her face cracked. Took three stitches to fix it. She refers to all of us as "pigs".

Gertie is the one who threatened to pour a carafe of water on whomever tried to sit at "her" table. I have noticed that one man shares a table with her and her lackey from time to time. Sat with him the other day. I now think of him as the "Crossword Puzzle Man". He prefers to work puzzles to keep his mind active rather than to converse. Perfect for Grumpy Gertie.

I watched today as she ran off a couple people. One of the co-managers went over and talked with her for a long time. Right after that I saw a lady in a wheelchair sitting at the table.

Wonder what would happen if I went over and flopped my fat ass down at "her" table? I'd like to know why she thinks there is a better independent living center near here in case I need to make a move. I am really turned off by the prejudice I hear around here. Much more than in Alabama.


Well, I done did it. I went up the other night and flopped mfa down at her table. Didn't ask for permission. Just did it. And she did not dump a carafe of ice water on me!

Told her I just wanted to ask her one question. Why did she like the other independent living center better. Turns out she doesn't like any of them. Besides the other one is more expensive. She really wants to be back in South Florida. Once she started talking she did alright.

The man I think of as the "Crossword Puzzle" man usually sits at the table with her. When I asked about the puzzles, he said it was to keep his mind off of his troubles. What troubles I wonder.

They seem to have a comfortable friendship connection.

I have not gone back because it seems that is what she prefers. Yet, at some times I look across the room at her and she seems so-o-o-o lonely.


Therapy is expensive but bubble wrap is free.


Some of the prejudices may be age specific. Many older White People were shielded from the happenings of the 60's and 70's. So, while they minimally had to show support for anti-discrimination, they were not able to fully integrate it into their lives. Consequently as they grow older and there is no pressure to accept people who are different, the more they revert to what really is in their hearts.

I find that the young people who are 40 and under are the more likely to have their heart and mind together with their actions. It is easy to say the right things and in public to do the right things, but if these things are not in your heart, then as you grow older and are less mindful of others, then the true spirit from the heart will emerge. This is probably what you are seeing. Don't become alarmed! You, too, will take on similar attributes. For example, you'll grow to either love or hate Viagra and will, when you arrive at old age, react accordingly.