Undependable.  Exaggerates and embellishes.  Bossy.  Rather than using the ugly characteristic of “liar”as our reference, let’s just use the initial  “G”.


A gift really, at first, I have become a bit callous to G’s reality.  Pushy on one side, and when I aim to fulfill direction, overcompensation is the result.  It is like having a relationship with a chameleon.  For me, anyway.  There is no anchor, no fact. How can one have a true relationship with an ever changing partner?

I can feel in my bones that I am being prodded.  And judged.  Am I sleeping too many hours?  Too lazy?  It is my overwhelming desire to keep G happy.  But can G really be so or is it just manipulation?  Where is the truth here?


G’s bigger footprint, interacting with 21st century tools is just not that great either.  Creating our conversation was just such a chore.  Things are not changing in this venue, and I get false feedback.


Above is an image of my new Garmin.  A minimal millennial.  Less is supposed to be more.  On average, on some measurements it is a pretty consistent 20 percent more. I know my run is four miles, and it measures the same five miles every day.  With stair climbing, who knows?  Sometimes when I am actively climbing to the second floor of the barn just to make Garmin happy, it refuses to record my work.  What does it use, barometric pressure?

I love that when in the proximity of my phone, I can read email on the watch.  And know the weather.  It could do more than I ask of it in this way, music, for one.

Is it worth having?  Yes.  Does it work well?   Kind of, if you know your own statistics.  It DOES tell the time.  I think devices like this are why some are saying that people are starting to wear watches again.





No Cooper River Bridge Run for me this year.  Something different is pulling.  Now training for it,  just after my daily run, I am also cleaning up the roads around here.  Never do only one thing at a time.  This also helps my blood pressure and bone mass.  What’s not to love?


A friend gave me a book about hiking the Appalachian Trail.  Wish I’d read something like it forty years ago.


Jennifer Pharr Davis has written a simple story of finding self,  uniting with the natural world, and therefore overcoming self.  Man, the self requires hard work!  Inspired.

Weaving through my art education is pattern.  Pattern or repetition of an action or a shape allows one to focus on that thing, and not on “self”.   Pattern is predictable, repetitive, understandable.  You are in it, like a monkey swinging from tree to tree.  Ask a weaver about the power of the beater bar.  Like a heartbeat, it is.  Running is this way for me.  Repeat the steps, lose yourself, gain enlightenment.

So it seems to me that hiking would be like running, but instead of eliminating the self, the self is trying to merge with all the variety of nature encountered.  To be part of something bigger, where self holds only a little status.

Living in the South, I can stumble over to the AT fairly quickly and hike for a couple of days.  Too old to think about the entire 2180 miles, two days with a nice hotel in between sounds good to me.

So I am running my four miles, and then walking/hiking down in the ditches on either side of the nearby two-lane.  Hoping that this will strengthen other muscles in my legs and back.  Below is today’s bounty of trash!

1-trail 2


Picked this button up in the road on my run earlier this week.

1-vote the bible

Considering where I live, the meaning behind this is pretty clear. In the deepest of the South, most march along in lockstep in the two big conversations we are having right now:  politics and religion.   But what a contradictory thing this button says to a critical person who just might parse out bits of the books of the Bible to support any cause.  It HAS been done.

At the intersection of politics and religion a lot of nastiness has taken place, and set to rot both organizations.

It is the holiday season.  We feel better and want to do good things.  Glenn and I  had an opportunity the other day.

Going out on my near daily run of four miles, I noticed a car parked where our road intersects the local two lane.  People were just sitting in the car, didn’t want to stare, and so I crossed the road and continued the run, two miles down and two miles back one long pavement.

1-sc police car

On the way back, approaching the intersection, I saw a SC State Police car.  Wondered if I was stupid enough not to have noticed it was a cop that I avoided staring at earlier.   Getting closer, he was parked behind the stranded car and talking to the driver of the original.

Running past, he was saying to the driver  “you have to get this car out of here, one way or another”, and the driver kept turning his key with the car producing this incredible clicking.  Old, worn our car.  And I knew like the back of my hand that these people had no money for a tow.

I ran past the conversation and down the dirt road to our house.  Then I thought—Glenn could move this car!  He has a big truck and a car hauling trailer.  I thought about Christmases in my early twenties where the simple cost of a tree was a huge extra expense.  And when I needed a set of new tires one December and my Dad sent me the money.  It was absolutely beyond me to buy tires.

I thought about the kids in Newtown, Ct., and what their parents had asked us all to do, and turned around and ran back down the road.   Came to the passenger window, and true to the old car, it would not roll down.

Walked around and told the driver that my husband could move the car for him.  He responded, very quietly three times and I could not understand him.  Finally he pulled a new part out of a plastic bag and wondered if my husband could fix the car.  “No, but he can take your car back home”.

Went to speak to the cop.  At first he discouraged me, but then changed his mind.  He knew these people  and said they were “harmless”.  “Just take them home, and nowhere else”.  OK.

Long story short, that’s just what we did.  Glenn pulled that car up on the trailer with his beloved tools and his back.  The people, maybe brother and sister,  were quiet, and maybe a little overwhelmed.  They did not say much.

Am thrilled to dedicate the help to these people who were in trouble and had no way out, to the memory of the innocent and pure children of Sandy Hook Elementary School.


Misscommoncents nominated me as a versatile blogger, for which I am very grateful.  This characteristic is antagonistic to being a clear and easy voice on the web. Trying not to be, there is this thing though.  Some idea rises to the top and it will not be discouraged.  Even when there are other seeds of ideas, the purging of the dominant one just must be heard.  Exorcism.


This is my experience in visual art as well.  Often, it wastes a lot of time.

For this award, the obligation is to tell seven things about myself.  Since my writing is all over the place, hence the award, past blog posts might do the trick.

1.  Love art history



2.  My digs are a composition, too.



3.  Love cats.



4.  South Carolina politics are simply absurd.


joe wilson

mark sanford

5.  I have the gene for colon cancer.



6.  Families have “stuff”.



7.  Love to garden.  All the time.



Many thanks for understanding my various interests, Miss Common Cents!


There is a lot to look at as I wind down Scott River Road on my four mile run.  The run is especially nice now that the road is getting re-graded.  Currently only loose stone is applied and cars using the road are helping to push it into the base of asphalt or something like it.   I wonder if this was how it felt to run on cinder, the old low tech surface.


There are stoic cows, marked in the ears electronically or not, stating who they are, where they will go.  Branded.  I used to think they looked cute and silly with earrings, but these symbols are so much about their future.  Uneasy about this.

Cows love jazz. 

Cows like to look nice and wear earrings.  They are curious and non-judgmental.  Often, I am running by as they cross Scott River Road.  They have their minds on that destination of new green grass across the road,  and are mot much interested in me.  They are huge and very tolerant beings.  The babies are wobbly.  One day, all crossed the road but one cow.  My friend was closing the gate and I asked why she didn’t come.  She had just dropped a baby, just then.  I had the feeling that if it had been even an hour before, that baby would be walking across the road too.


Over the road, often I see enormous cargo planes that seem to be just over my head.  It is always strange to see them.  They are so big that your mind tells you that they are much closer than they are.  Strangers to the area get upset that the planes are getting too close and are moving way too slow.  These planes are from a so-called “secret” air base at North, SC, very near here.  When Strom Thurmond was still alive and  pushing his power, there would always be three cargo planes doing maneuvers in the sky, then the base closings started in the 80s? 90s?, and the planes would only travel in twos.  Now only one at a time.

The image above is a still from a video of a cargo plane crashing.  However it records exactly the feeling one gets when running or driving around here.  About five years ago, maybe ten miles of US 321 was widened to four plus lanes near North, leading to here.  Some say this is for emergencies related to the (secret) North air base.  My daughter had a science teacher who told her it was planned to be an auxiliary landing site for the shuttle.  Strom Thurmond/the Senator/ Columbia?  It was after Columbia, SC that that  shuttle was named.

This is new on my route.


In a field that has always had cotton, this year peanuts were planted.   Don’t know if this is normal crop change so as to not delete the soil too heavily from any one nutrient, or if this is change related to our wet spring and summer.    They are turned out on the ground now, laying like this.  I have wondered about peanut farming ever since Jimmy Carter was elected.

Way back when, my stepfather, Sidney, was flying by air from St. Louis to NYC.  The man next to him said to him,  “Hello, my name is Jimmy Carter and I’m running for President”!


When running, Dad’s genes rise to the top.  Same thing happens when mowing the lawn.  Or is that learned?

Dad was an athlete, I am not.  While not a runner during his life time, my hope is he knows now somehow.  Basketball was really his sport, but he must have run to create endurance on the court.  One of my first memories is of him hurting his knee during a pick-up basketball game after work.

We also shared a disease, colon cancer.  Dad did not beat it, but I did.  Women do things differently.  Long story.

Dad was part of a very special basketball team in central Illinois, Decatur, in 1944-45.  He got a waiver from the Army to finish high school since he turned 18 while still a senior.  Do you remember the old movie, “Hoosiers”?  I don’t think that movie was based upon Dad’s “Cinderella” experience, but it could have been.  Basketball is as important in Illinois as it is in Indiana in terms of high school sports.  Illinois is like two different places:  there is Chicago and the suburbs, and then there is “downstate”.

So glad that I experienced a bit of Dad’s childhood neighborhood.  He lived down from Fan’s Field, a pine green colored structure where local baseball games were played.  How fine to be able, if not attending, to hear bats crack and fans cheer on a summer night!  Remember from cartoons the hole in the wall, and kids looking at a game through that hole?  You have the image.

There was a small grocery within a couple of blocks of his house.  It served the homes around it.  As late as when I was a child, each family had a little pad of invoices at the checkout desk.  Our name was on the binding.  What we bought was marked down, and the tab was paid once a month.  It was said that that little store carried many through the Great Depression.

When a child, we would go for a Sunday often, only a two hour drive from St. Louis.  Decatur stunk back then.  Don’t think it does now.  The “Soybean Capital of the World”,  it was Staley’s Syrup making the big stink.  To me, Decatur was on another planet, far removed from my baby boomer St. Louis suburbs.

So what did Dad do in high school?  His small town Decatur basketball team won the state championship, the whole state, even against those big and bad Chicago teams.  This was before the A or AA designation.  A Decatur radio station played that final game every year for a long time.

I have his trophy.  His was for being the “free throw champion”.


Dad never made it close to being in his fifth decade.  Now in my sixth,  I am finally winning medals for being an athlete of a sort.  Last year a surprise package came from the Cooper River Bridge Run in Charleston, SC.  It was heavy.  Had no idea, but the top five percent of each age class wins medals!  In my class, there were about five hundred women.  Placed 19th.  Surprisingly, my placement was the same this year, but my time was a lot faster.

For you Dad,  who knew?


Somebody bought my husband’s car.  Until yesterday, was not at all sure who it was.  When running, I never get a good fix on faces or types of cars.  It is almost as if  “seeing” is voluntary.  If not called to attention, my visual interest pulls back into a panorama.  Some type of old “boomer” navel gazing, or the opposite.

It was somebody on my running route; my husband had a little white convertible parked at the end of our road.  Pulling off our long drive last week, a big dark truck and two people familiar to me came in and stopped to speak.  They wanted to look at the car.  They drove on back.


Now here the story gets strange.  You must know that there are at least dozens of southern accents.  For a newcomer, like Glenn, and like my reaction when first migrating here, conversation can be difficult.  After a social event, you can come away exhausted.  Concentration on what words are actually being said can be mind blowing.  You make listening errors.  Some things you just never understand.  Idioms are odd—-around here people “carry” others everywhere.  I see an adult son with his mother in his arms, carrying her bodily around the Piggly Wiggly.  This is not what they mean, but you have to get used to this.

The pair looked at the car, and bought it.  Hooray.  Glenn thought he understood that the farmer who bought the car was getting married.  That he was working on enlarging his house.  We thought it was sweet as the man is advanced in age.  Seemed more normal then that he was buying a sexy little convertible!  Second wind, you know.

The man with the farmer in his truck lives on our road. His name is Jake.  He works both for the farmer and the fish man who lives further down the road.

Two days later I see the farmer’s son on my running route.  Always see him.  My running road splits his farm in half.  I stop.

I see you are adding a new chicken building.

TWO, he said.  Lots of work.

So your Daddy is getting married again!


He is buying Glenn’s car and is getting married.  You knew?

I’m doing all this work for someone else?

You don’t know about this?

No answer.  I try to back peddle as women do,  try to undo what I understood.  OK,  I am confused then.  It must be someone else.  Who else around here could I be confusing with your Daddy? But he is not doing the generous reaction to my squirming.

The next day, I am not on the road.  But yesterday, my run was normal.  Except that when the farmer’s son stopped to speak to me, he had a shotgun and a box of bullets in his front seat.  Had been “carrying” them for two days.  He referred to them, and showed me.

Did you find out who is buying your car?

No, he was supposed to come and take it on Monday or Tuesday, but he didn’t show up.

The farmer’s son says that Jake is back at the chicken house right now, and he will ask him.

He speeds off, I continue running, worrying about southern accents.  He is back in a flash.  Jake is amazed that the deed is public.  How did you know that your Daddy bought that car?

I know everything, says the farmer’s son to Jake.

Best we can figure is that the fish man is getting married.  He remodeled his house last summer, and that might have been what Jake was referring to.


You would agree that the “Bridge Run” from 2012 was probably your low point.  Forty thousand people waited 45 minutes after the advertised start time to begin their run.  Politicians often do this wrong, and I think you did too.  You kept people in the dark (literally, and then figuratively) as to why we were not moving.  You announced the start many times,  and then did not follow through.  You let the seeded runners go off somewhere to rest, and then called them back many times.  You almost threatened us through the sound system:  “We have been very patient with you!”.  All you got was booing in response.


What really happened?  There was a screw-up in the bus system from Charleston out to the island, we found out the next day.  All the runners who had been promised a ride did not get to the start side until 8:45.  You could have told us that.  And then cranked up the music and let everyone dance in place.  That’s what a person feels like doing at the beginning of a race.  Seems simple.


For me, something wonderful happened that year, however.  I became an athlete.  Early in my sixth decade, outlasting many my age who used to run, I won my first medal for a sport.  The top five percent of each age designation get medals, who knew?  In this group of more than forty thousand, there were approximately 500 women aged 60-64.  I came in 19th, comfortably within the top five percent.  Now running was something different for me, not just a personal little reverie about filling lungs and stretching legs, but a time to beat.  Something to do again, or top.


My medal from last year came unexpectedly.  Heavy, and on a grosgrain ribbon; “It looks like a beer bottle opener”, I would say, sharing my delight at winning this medal.  Who knew it actually WAS one?


Coming in 19th again in my age group in 2013, but with a faster time, I could not wait for my second medal!  Giddy about it really.  Was of course going to write a post about it.  Here is me, in my imagination:mark spitz

Yes, Mark Spitz.  Me with my two medals.  But what do I get this year?

1-two medals

A chalk trivet with a heat applied plastic picture on the surface.  Broken.  No ribbon attached. On the back is says “Homemade” (not even “Handmade”).  For the top five percent,  you,  Cooper River Bridge Run,  give athletes domestic items.  Stinging, stinging disappointment!


I run four miles a day, two up and two down, a little farm-to-market road that intersects the two-lane highway close to where our dirt road hits it on the other side.  Have been doing this for years, and when injured, I am missed.

I have friends and acquaintances on the road.  One man sells us shrimp.  He has made a little business for himself by riding up to North Carolina to a supplier, buying at wholesale and selling around here to us at retail.  Another man and his son are big farmers having land on each side of the road.  Clark helped me in taking out tree stump a couple of years ago and I gave him a mosaic in return.  Below is his handiwork on a load of cotton.

merry christmas

Last year Glenn brought his Dad, Tommy, two cups of soil from the Midwest.  One from Missouri and one from Illinois.  Clark said that dirt was nothing like the su-gah sand we have around here!  He was amazed at the blackness and richness of the stuff.

Since their farm extends to both sides of my running road, and they have pastures on either side, sometimes traffic has to stop to let the cows and bull amble across the road leaving their particular fertilizer on the blacktop.

Love it when the cows cross the road.  The calves are nosier and want to look and wander as they cross.  The mama cows are better trained and have their eyes on the green grass of the far pasture.  Last week two employees in a truck were just closing the gate on one side and it was unusual to see that one cow remained on the first side.  She looked stoic.  I asked why and they said she just had a baby.  It was still on the ground and had not found its wobbly legs yet.  Next day, they were with the rest of the herd which is about forty girls and one boy.

A couple of weeks ago, I had a classic conversation with Tommy, as we waited for the cows to cross.  He is a man of few words.

Me:  How do you get them to cross the road and leave all that green grass?  Hay on the other side?

Tommy:  Ye-uup.

Tommy is a tall guy who has to bend down to converse with me.  He tilts his head a little, and his mouth looks a little like a peanut shape when he talks.

Me:  There is only one bull in this whole group (I had just noticed that with the forty plus crossing at that time,  only one had horns)?

Tommy:  Ye-uup.

Me:  All these babies are from just one bull?

Tommy:  Ye-uup.

Me:  If you had two bulls, they would fight?

Tommy looked at me for a few seconds and what he and I both knew about males flowed through the space between us.  He set his mouth in a particularly fine peanut shape, and layered a smile on top.

Tommy:  Ye-uup.