Volunteer Teaching

In February, I began volunteering twice a week with the Laubach Council for Literacy. Seems rather ironic to think I am now volunteering to do what I got paid to do for 20+ years! I am working 4 hours a week teaching adults English as a Second Language (ESL).

I have 7 amazing women ages 30-70 who are beginning English speakers. The women represent the countries of So. Korea, Ukraine, Mexico, Columbia, and Iran. We work on building vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, and conversation skills. They need help with simple things, like ordering food from a restaurant, making doctor appointments, or even answering the phone. I love being able to help and I didn’t realize how much I missed teaching until I began working there. I don’t even mind the prep work that goes into preparing lessons.

The organization serves communities all over the area (I think the US as well). I am located at a local community center that is 3.6 miles from my house. The center offers several English classes designed to meet the needs of the participants. Some folks don’t speak any English and are illiterate in their native tongue. It is so hard to see people in this situation.  I wonder how I would do if I was in their shoes. Our job is to teach English, as well as to help them assimilate into our culture. I am blessed I have the time to volunteer and grateful that teaching is a gift that I can use to help those in need.

 

Gardening Successes

Cymbidium

Yes! It bloomed after last year’s plant surgery to saw the plant in two pieces. I kid you not, the plant was so root-bound that I couldn’t get it apart. There was almost no dirt left!  I tried a shovel to break it apart. I tried prying it apart. At last I took it to my son’s house and he sawed it in half. Success! I was left with two halves that I was pretty certain would die of shock. But given the winter to  be dormant, they enjoyed the rains we had and eventually seemed

Orchid cactus

to come to life. Both halves are blooming and doing well. I should not have doubted my skills with plants.

I also managed to save this orchid cactus. It will be blooming soon with beautiful bright red flowers. The wind blew it over earlier this year and not knowing what to do, I just stuck the broken pieces back into the soil and walla! It’s a giant plant now! The red blooms should be ready to break-through any day now.

My red mandevilla plants are vining and showing bright red flowers as well. Even my Christmas cacti are still blooming. They began in October and are still going strong. So I guess I can say I am a gardener after all! Now if I can remember to water everything as summer approaches. LOL

Little “D” Day

At long last I get to begin watching the youngest grandchild, better known as ‘Little D” every Friday.  She is the happiest baby and an absolute delight.  She’s now almost 7 months old now and embraces life with gusto. She’s always up for a walk at the bay or to simply watch the pinwheels go round and round in the backyard. Like all babies, if it fits in her mouth it is her new favorite toy.

Forget the bottle, she just wants food. She loves it all; homemade, store-bought, or a combo. But you do have to be prepared, because once she’s in the high chair, you had better be ready to start feeding and have plenty on hand. She loves eating.

Retirement is so great. I love my tutoring days, I love my golfing days (well, when I get back to it), but this is my favorite day of the week. I call it Little D Day. I’m sure there will be many more posts about my adventures with Little D.

Is this not a face to just spend endless hours staring at?

Washing the Golf Course!

Let’s shampoo the golf course!

I can’t golf yet, but I  walked the course with my friend the other morning. I acted as score keeper. As I feared, she is getting better and better, while I can barely move my arm.

As we were walking from the 1st tee, I noticed little soap bubbles all over the course. What?! Was the course dirty or something? Did the nearby car wash explode and bubbles drifted onto the course? Where were these bubbles from?

Then I noticed all these sprouts of grass everywhere. Of course, when you aren’t lugging a golf bag or concentrating on the game, you notice  these oddities. I had to contain my curiosity until we finished the round.

I went to the front desk and asked what the deal was with the soap and silky sprouts. Did you guess the soap was fertilizer and the grass was full of new seedlings?  Guess I have a lot to learn about this game called golf.

Golf Swing vs Rotator Cuff

So, just what is a rotator cuff and how do you tear it? My online dictionary says  it is a “capsule with fused tendons that supports the arm at the shoulder joint and is often subject to athletic injury.”

The good news is I can be considered an athlete! I always wanted to be an athlete, but that means you have to have some sort of ability-which I do not have. I have learned to swing a club and I golf twice a week so I guess that makes me a retired golfing pro!

The bad news is that I partially tore my left rotator cuff. The diagnosis from an MRI came with lots of other long words I can’t pronounce. All I know is that I can’t really move the arm much. Sleeping is a bear and I’m sidelined from swinging a club.

The good news is we are going to try physical therapy first before surgery. I have a great physical therapist that I have had before for hip bursitis, so I have a lot of confidence in him. Things are going REALLY slow right now.

The bad news is I am missing out on all of the great spring golfing weather. I hate the hot summers, so spring is my favorite time to golf! I’ll let you know when I can swing a club again…

 

Hidden Shots

Being the stellar golfer that I am, I had one of those days on the golf course where I spent more time searching for my ball than hitting off the green. So sad!

Because of my extreme hitting accuracy (haha), I am often looking for wayward balls. One solution is to use pink or florescent pink balls. Easy to spot, right? Not necessarily! For example, you see this little jewel nestled under a patch of weeds? From the other side it is completely hidden. It took forever to find.

Or, take this little beauty. Embedded in the natural habitat is one cute little pink ball. Can you imagine if I used a white or yellow ball? Never would have found it.

But the best of all was having a ball get buried in the tall ornamental grass that lined the creek bed. I really could not find the ball until we started digging down into each tuft of grass. Yes, I took a drop. Since I play with such a great friend, no penalty was incurred.

The day ended in the sand, but at least I could spot the ball!

Moral of this story: Golfing is not about skill, but about the fun you have in the quiet outdoors with friends. Lots of laughs, memorable stories, and the occasional great shot. Love this sport!

Golf cover vs. Marmot Masher

Back in early December I wrote about my encounter with the coots. You may recall that I hit one of those ugly birds with my new hybrid club.  Ever since it has been called the “Coot Slayer.”

I had been wanting a driver to add to my meager collection of clubs. So for Christmas Dan got me a used club for a whopping  $59.00. He was skeptical I could use such a long club, so why spend a lot of money?  Smart thinking on his part!

The first day I took my club to the course I was playing in a foursome. Those poor people did not know the laughs they were in for. My friend had her bag well off to the side and was waiting for me to tee off. She had taken the squirrel cover off her driver and set it on top of the club. Oh, I hit the ball alright! I hit the squirrel in the head and knocked it off the club. I killed it! So my friends decided the driver needed a name. It is now known as the “Marmot Masher.”

Truth be told I am really quite good with this club now that I’ve learned to swing it correctly-well better than before. Golfing with me is an experience you will never forget. I provide great dinner table stories sure to entertain!