Monthly Archives: September 2015

Forget me not…for I may forget you!

You know, even those of us who are not so unlucky as to have Alzheimer’s, may have our own little problems with memory. And I’d like to say that my memory problems have become an issue with age, but that’s not true, either. I just have that unorganized kind of mind that makes a good memory very difficult.

There is a commercial on right now, cautioning about the symptoms of Alzheimer’s in which a woman is trying to find her keys and her husband discovers that she has put them in the refrigerator. keysThe caption then reads, “If you place things in unusual places it may be the symptom of early onset of Alzheimer’s.” If that is so, I have been in the early stages of that unfortunate disease since I was about 15! In fact, when I am looking for a misplaced item, the refrigerator and freezer are some of the first places on my list to look!

I admire people with perfect memories, I really do. It’s just that I can’t always remember why. In any given week, I can forget any number of things. My students love it when I forget to ask for homework that they may have forgotten to do, but my dentist and hairdresser are not nearly so fond of the fact that I forget those appointments.

This week, it was intended for me to bring some food to church for the coffee hour. I bought all kinds of cookies and breads to deliver, put them in the car so I would remember to take them to the church before I left town for the weekend, and then left town in the other vehicle. When I came home, it was entirely likely that I can no longer go to that church, but it is also true that I will remember the bread and cookies for a long time, because they ripened unfortunately in the warmth of my car over several days!

I do have tricks to try and help my flabby memory. I make notes and use sticky-note paper to put things up all over the house. Things like, “Be certain to put clothes in the dryer so you have underwear for tomorrow,” or “Turn the roast on in the oven or have raw meat for supper.”

I put kettles on to boil and then get busy elsewhere and don’t remember them until the smoke alarm jars my recollection. I like to watch old movies on television and I’m always delighted when I find one I haven’t seen before. Of course, halfway through I frequently find that oh, yeah, I have seen this one before, but luckily, I have no recollection of how it ends, so it’s all brand new again.

The good news is that my poor memory has remained in the same condition since, oh, I can’t remember when. I can always hope that it doesn’t get any worse, but as I move into old age, it may be that I start putting bigger things than the keys in the freezer…like the cat. Until then, I guess I’ll continue to enjoy life as it is, as long as I can remember why!

© Jackie Wells-Fauth and Drops In the Well, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Wells-Fauth and Drops In The Well with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Road Trip!

It was going to be a fun weekend. All we had to do was get in the car and drive, make it to our destination and then relax. And who doesn’t love a little road trip?

That’s not how it went down at all. First of all, we debated about the vehicle to take. The red car was too splashy—what if the cops were out? Well, then we should take the vehicle with the least splash—the black pickup. Packing it was a little tricky, because everything we put in the back rolled clear up to the front of the pickup bed, forcing us to crawl on our old knees up to the front to get it.

We finally got going and headed east out of town. This turned out to be a bad idea. As we passed the school we realized with the flashing yellow lights, that school was still in session.

School Zone!

School Zone!

What we didn’t think about was that the flashing yellow lights also meant that we should be reducing speeds to a crawl to accommodate the school children arriving at the school.

We had just registered this idea when a different set of flashing lights appeared in our rear view mirror and in the next few minutes we were being treated to a lecture on what the yellow lights meant in relation to our speed, which, in our defense, was well under the regular speed, but not slow enough to avoid a ticket.

We set out on the road trip once more, with $185 dollars less in our pockets and a somewhat dampened enthusiasm for the fun, but what the heck? We could still have a good time. That is, until we ran into the road construction. Road construction is never fun, with all those detours and orange cones, but this time it was worse than normal because it was one of those sit in a line and wait for a pilot car things and it was a long, LONG wait.

Summer in SD - Road Construction Season!

Summer in SD – Road Construction Season!

We were already officially late to meet our traveling companions, but the 20 minutes we spent staring at the impassive face of the flag person standing in the middle of the road holding a stop sign and the further 15 minutes it took to follow the pilot car through a five-minute section of road meant we were truly late.

When we finally met our traveling companions, we decided to take their car and it was one of those that beeps, has flashing lights and various other annoyances to let you know when you are getting too close to the edge of your lane. I always thought those noisy ridges were enough. Six hours of having my inability to remain between the lane markings was enough to make me ready to crash that noisy, nerve-wracking vehicle into a wall to see what lights and whistles would  go off then!

The weekend went pretty well, but anyone who thinks that a road trip might be fun and relaxing should probably re-think their plans…or at least their preparation for the trip!

© Jackie Wells-Fauth and Drops In the Well, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Wells-Fauth and Drops In The Well with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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The 216th boasts a proud legacy

I try to keep this blog as light-hearted as possible, but I also want to write about the things happening around me, so today I will take a moment and tell you about the 216th Chemical Company and their proud and loyal service in the 1950s.

The 216th consisted of some men from many parts, mostly the Midwest, who were brought together and stationed primarily near Denver, Colorado.  While in Denver they conducted routine Army business, but it was when they narrowly missed active duty in the Korean corridor that their true service to their country may have begun.

Holding the plaque of names of those who have passed away

Glen Wells, 216th Chemical Company

My father was among those in the 216th who were sent to the deserts of Nevada, far from the fighting in Korea, to fight another kind of battle. These men were among those units who were present for atomic bombs tests in the 1950s. The stories these men can tell are truly hair-raising.

They were the witnesses on the front line of those bomb explosions, witnessing the terrible mushroom clouds, feeling the backlash from the explosion and assessing the damage when it was over. They, hardly daring to wonder about the backlash to themselves, witnessed the most awesome and terrible of all weapons of the time.

What do men do after they have endured experiences like these? Well, they go home, marry their sweethearts, raise families and carry on with their lives. Some became farmers, some government workers, some firefighters, some mailmen and so on. A few even became career Army men.

But above everything else, they remember. They remember the experiences they shared and the comradery those adventures invoked.

The 216th Chemical Company 1997

The 216th Chemical Company 1997

For the last 65 years, these men have been meeting in Denver, Minneapolis, Las Vegas and Lincoln, Neb. to maintain the connection that was forged all those years ago during their time in the 216th.

Age, illness and death have pared down their numbers from around 200, to their reunion this year bringing together some of the final few.  I have been privileged to be a part of a few of these reunions, accompanying my father as he travels to join his comrades in arms for another review of the “good old days” and all the days since.

The 216th 2015

The 216th 2015

It isn’t only the members of the 216th who attend. Wives, many now widows, continue to honor their husbands’ memories with another jaunt down this memory lane. Even children, such as me, have become known to each other as we try (and generally fail) to understand just what our fathers experienced in the deserts of Nevada all those years ago.

Styling themselves the “Forgotten 216th”, these elderly veterans have gathered for another reunion in Lincoln and it is sad to see their diminished numbers, but it is wonderful to see that the sands of time have not reduced their pride in their accomplishments or their pleasure in each others’ company.

So, I say to these proud veterans thank you for your time serving your country; your legacy can never be forgotten by those who love you!

© Jackie Wells-Fauth and Drops In the Well, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Wells-Fauth and Drops In The Well with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Teaching the sophomores how to write

I was teaching a class in proper writing techniques to my sophomores this morning when the subject of my blog came up. They are such a lively, enquiring group that they are fun to teach, but when it comes to writing, they wonder what I am bothering them for. The blog may help me with this lesson.

We had a long conversation about the merits of good writing and I told them that my Mom is a very good writer as well and that’s how I learned. Trying to emphasize how important strong writing really is, the hour just slipped away like a river for us.

Sand Dunes National Park, CO

Sand Dunes National Park, CO

As I got caught up in my lesson, I gave them an entire list of things they must do if they want to learn to write well. To write well, they will need to learn to take their time, completed an outline, writing a rough draft, do a thorough edit scan and produce a final copy.

They worked very hard on the outline today, trying very hard to write a narrative piece instead of a how-to. I got many delightfully outlines on the subjects of hunting, pets, trips and food. I’m so excited to see how the papers develop.

I have spent so much time working on grammar concepts with the sophomores and now I’m going to try and show them why it matters. I’ve done all I can to teach them the parts of speech. Two years ago, I was singing, Row, row, row your boat, row, that is a verb. Verbs show action every time, unless they link a word. Teaching them the merits of sentence structure and strong spelling, it has been an interesting time, teaching the sophomores about writing.

I have made pretty much every mistake that is possible when constructing this writing and now I’m going to direct my sophomores to this blog to see if they can find them. In the meantime, I’m putting this online for anyone to see. If you would care to check out my writing mistakes, you are welcome to give it your best and perhaps, show the sophomores why their writing is so important!

Sophomores, you must find at least five writing errors…good luck to all of you!

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Bringing Up Josie

Raising children was a complex and interesting process. As a parent, I can honestly say that I will probably never think I am done raising my children. But since I have taken on the task of raising a puppy, parenthood may seem like a picnic.

Josie on a rare occasion - chewing something she's supposed to!

Josie on a rare occasion – chewing something she’s supposed to!

The first thing I have discovered is that there is nothing so energetic as a small puppy like our Josie. This dog can take a walk around the yard at a dead run, pull everything she can find out of the garbage cans and chew it up and still have the energy to run a mile and a half on a half mile walk. She wants to play constantly and for a couple beyond their play years, this can become problematical for us.

Of course, everything she gets, she chews. So far she has eaten my address book, two books I was attempting to read, my glasses (it’s alright, though, because I have nothing to read) and every plastic canvas creation I have attempted in the last month.

We have the bathroom situation figured out. She goes outside…unless she goes inside. So far, my screaming at her when she starts to pee on the rug only means she pees faster to get me to stop screaming. She hasn’t figured out  yet why something we praise her for doing out in the grass is something she gets in trouble for if she does it a few feet away on the living room floor.

As a typical puppy, it is second nature for her to bite everything she plays with. She can start out licking your hand or foot but biting will soon follow. I read somewhere that the best way to train a dog not to bite is to roll up some paper and slap her sharply on the nose every time she bites. Josie bit my foot and I slapped her sharply and said, “No.” She sat back and considered it a moment, and then tried again. Again, I said, “No.” and slapped her with the paper. She settled down at once, lying down and looking very cute and innocent.11896253_10100576420082496_4848608320393750555_n

Satisfied with my attempt at doggie discipline, I went to get her a treat from the kitchen. I returned with the treat, only to find that she was chewing the rolled up paper to shreds. I didn’t give her the treat, but I did have to give her some points for problem solving.  The problem she hasn’t solved is how to get rid of all the paper in the house so I can’t roll up anymore!

My rugs may be taking the hardest part of bringing up the puppy. They are being constantly washed after Josie uses them for her bathroom breaks and when she’s not doing that, she is chewing them up. She especially likes the one I have under my small desk in the living room. I wasn’t too worried about the rug because she couldn’t get it out from under the desk. I found out I was wrong the day I heard the crash from the living room and Josie came running with the rug in her mouth and the wreckage from my desk tipping over strewn out behind her.

I had thought she was getting better, but today, while working in the basement, I could hear her, running madly around on the main floor. She must have heard me on the stairs, coming to check on her, because she met me at the door of the basement and flopped down on her belly to give herself a more innocent appearance. The innocent air didn’t help, however, since she had a string stuck in her teeth and hanging  from her mouth and streaming out to the rug that she was slowly unraveling.

Josie on the move!

Josie on the move!

Yes, bringing up Josie is a challenge, but I take heart from the fact that our children eventually grew up under our guidance, surely Josie will too. Right? Right? Josie, spit my shoe out of your mouth and tell me I’m right!

© Jackie Wells-Fauth and Drops In the Well, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Wells-Fauth and Drops In The Well with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Visitors – My reason for cleaning!

I read a poster on Facebook yesterday (well, actually, my daughter sent it to me) which said: My housekeeping schedule—Do the absolute minimum until someone is coming over, then clean like a crazy person.

I’m sure this was meant to be funny, but seriously, who doesn’t do this? Am I actually going to dust that back corner of the basement unless I have a serviceman who needs to check the furnace? I know there are people who regularly clean their woodwork and scrub their floors, I am just not one of those people.images

What I clean is dependent on who is coming. If it is a guest stopping through on the way to or from somewhere else, then the bathroom must be cleaned. Not necessarily the shower, I’m not going crazy; just the toilet and the sink and if time permits, I might even clean the mirror.

If someone is coming to look at the dishwasher, then it seems necessary to scrape the grime off the outside of it and maybe even clean the floor—you never know when something sticky might be there. The same is true of the stove and the refrigerator, but if I have to clean the oven in a hurry, then I’m going to need the shop vac.

When my parents come, that’s a bathroom, dining room, even living room going over. I frequently employ the laundry basket ploy here. I run around scooping things off of every surface into a laundry basket and shove it in a closet. You must realize that this may result in your address book ending up in the bowl you used to eat sticky melon last night, but it’s all in the cause of making the house look “kinda” clean.

I’ve even taken essence of clean advice from other people in regards to smell. If your house isn’t clean and you don’t have time or Febreze, pour a little cleaner in the corners. It does work but it’s messy. Someone else advised me to mask the smells by baking some cookies before the visitors come. If I have the energy to bake cookies, wouldn’t I have the energy to clean? I can’t take this kind of advice from someone who clearly doesn’t understand my cleaning philosophy.

I found out recently that I have passed these skills on to my daughter. We were sitting around my house both knowing we had things we needed to do, but luxuriating in the mess instead. Then, our expected company called to say they would be unexpectedly early and we both leapt to our feet. As I attempted to scrape the grime off the kitchen counters and straighten the bedding in the bedroom, my daughter managed to single-handedly remove the large living room rug from under two heavy chairs and the sofa and resign it to the outdoor deck in order to improve the look of the floors. House—semi-clean!images (1)

So, if you want to visit my house, thank you in advance. If you have small children, I’ll sweep the floor and if you’re coming for a meal, I’ll wipe off the stove and the refrigerator. If you crave a cooler place to sit on a hot day, I’ll even take a shovel to the basement. Cleaning like a crazy person before the company arrives is the only way to clean in my book!

© Jackie Wells-Fauth and Drops In the Well, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Wells-Fauth and Drops In The Well with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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A Walk in the Gloaming

I read somewhere that some bugs are very high in cholesterol if ingested by a human being. I really hope this is not true, because I’ve been having a rather steady diet of them lately.

It’s bad enough that I keep falling asleep in my chair only to be awakened by some fly trying to crawl in my mouth. You wake up fast while trying to spit fly off your tongue but so far, I don’t think I’ve actually feasted on one.fly

The same cannot be said for bugs when I’m out walking. I know that I need to walk, but unfortunately, this time of year, I can only get in a walk in the evening, just before dark—a time that my ancestors might have termed the “gloaming.”

Unfortunately, in the gloaming, the sun is actually going down, which reduces the heat, but encourages the bugs. I walk out there with my slow step and heavy frame and I have no chance of outrunning those bugs. Therefore, I end up waving my arms around like a disjointed windmill, trying to fend them off. And there are a lot of them.

I’ve been reading stories and watching programs which predict that some animal will take over the earth from the humans. I frankly don’t worry about tigers, dogs, bears or apes. I think the earth will be overrun by bugs.

I recognize this as the ugly truth every time I take this walk in the gloaming. Every type of winged creature makes its way outside and straight for the path I’m walking.

Charlie Bug will say to Arnold Bug: “Hey, buddy wanna have a good time?”

“Sure,” exclaims Arnold, “What do you have in mind?”

“Fly on over to the Fauth walk and we can fly into the old lady’s hair, eyes, ears, etc.” Charlie leads the way.

“Sounds like fun,” shouts Arnold as they fly my way. “It’ll be so easy, especially when they don’t have any better sense than to walk in the gloaming!”

Tonight, they were in particularly good form. I ran into the side of a building while trying to wave off some particularly persistent friends of Charlie. Arnold managed to win the annoyance trophy by flying between my eye and my glasses, but I’m afraid the news was not so good for Charlie. As I was talking to my husband, Charlie flew down my throat to become a mosquito canapé. All the spitting in the world couldn’t bring poor old Charlie back.giant_gallinipper_mosquito

Hence, my hope that bugs are not high in cholesterol, because here is a human than seems bound to ingest more than her fair share. Happy gloaming, everyone—celebrate it by not walking with the mosquitoes.

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