Not Working

July 18, 2015 | My Jottings

There are several things that are just not working for me these days. And I mean this in our present-day idiomatic quirkiness. I don’t mean that there are machines in my world that have broken down and need repairing. I mean that things aren’t working for me sort of like Dr. Phil asks dysfunctional people on his show “How’s this working for ya?” because obviously changes are needed if they want better lives.

So may I just say that chinch bugs in my lawn are not working for me? My very nice lawn guy (who has been inexpensively and efficiently mowing my small yard ever since Michael’s illness took a turn years ago) called me this week to let me know my grass is being feasted upon and will ultimately be destroyed by chinch bugs. Except he pronounced them cinch bugs. So I looked up online all I could learn about the “safe for children and pets” treatment he recommended to kill my chinch bugs, and I decided against it. It causes bladder tumors in rats and is a neurotoxin. It’s supposed to be safe for humans because the amount they would be exposed to after a lawn treatment is miniscule. Even so, this is not working for me, so I guess I’ll be trying the chinch bug program that’s more ecologically friendly.

Try not to laugh as you picture me purchasing a large amount of old fashioned soap flakes, measuring and mixing it and dissolving it in water, spraying it on the little yellow patches of chinch bug settlements on my lawn, laying light-colored flannel sheets down on top of these wet soapy areas, waiting for the teeny-tiny soap-averse chinch bugs to climb out of the grass in a panic and cling to the underside of the flannel sheets, then quickly gathering up the sheets to plunge them into a waiting water-filled, clean garbage can to drown them. And then I’m supposed to repeat the process as needed.

At this point in my life, chomping chinch bugs and soapy flannel sheets on the grass are not really working for me.

But as a homeowner who will eventually sell this house, I guess I need to make sure the lawn survives. This all makes me think that perhaps being a homeowner will soon be something that will no longer work for me.

I’ve been dreaming (again) of more temperate climes, a place not too cold in the winter and not hot in the summer, and have once again come up with the mountains of North Carolina. blowing-rock-viewI’ve been reading about Asheville, and have also become curious about Blowing Rock and Boone, NC. Having a quiet two-bedroom townhome or condo in the Blue Ridge Mountains where chinch bugs would be someone else’s concern sounds appealing.

But it’s not just the chinch bugs. It’s my quadriceps too. My right quadriceps muscle isn’t really working for me. Ever since I had my right knee replacement surgery three years ago, my right thigh muscle has become weaker and more useless with each passing day. I can’t use my right leg to go up a step, cannot stand from a sitting position without using my arms to push myself up, can’t turn over in bed without a wince. I fully realize the answer would be to begin exercising my right quadriceps muscle to strengthen it, and to quit compensating for it, but the apathy and almost compulsive need for quiet and comfort in my life as I adjust to living without Michael isn’t really conducive for vigorous exercise programs. Faulty reasoning, I know, but I don’t claim that my thinking is on task these days either.

I’ll tell you what is working in my life right now.

Having a little male goldfinch dine at the suction cup feeder on our dining room window many times a day, singing his sweet, twittery song…this is working well for me.

Watching episodes of “American’s Test Kitchen” I record on my DVR, learning about the fascinating science of cooking and baking, even though I don’t want to cook or bake much myself — this is working for me right now.

Having window boxes on our front deck that are continuously, gloriously blooming with red geraniums is working quite well for me.

And dreaming of Scotland is totally working for me. And watching the occasional inspiring movie is always good.

Sara and I watched “Babette’s Feast” a few nights ago and I was thrilled all over again. Michael and I watched it years ago and I remember him wiping tears as we saw the sacrifice and unbelievable generosity of one woman toward a group of people who didn’t fully appreciate what she did for them. Have you seen it? It’s subtitled, and is so worth watching.

Ah. It’s time for me to prepare breakfast for my gals.

I hope whatever isn’t working in your life right now is being overshadowed by the things that are.



  1. Mariah says:

    I’m so glad to read of things that are working well for you. As you noticed on your instagram feed, IG isn’t working so well for me these days, but I am continuing to follow you because I love your words and snapshots of your life. Isn’t the online world strange? I feel as if we’d be great friends if we lived closer to one another and could share a morning with coffee every now and then. It does seem a bit one sided, though. You publish slices of your life and I withdraw from Instagram and my blog continues to languish. Yes, this cyber thing certainly is a strange world. May I be selfish to remark that I hope that blogging continues to work for you because I love your writing and your take on life. You are inspiring and real! (…and the Blue Ridge Mountains sounds amazing!)

  2. Just Julie says:

    Your comments are so generous, Mariah…you are the one with a writing gift! I agree with you about coffee and visits if we were closer. Not even great distances can come between the bonds that form because of Jesus. God bless you and yours, dear Mariah…thank you again. xoxo

  3. Ganeida says:

    Babette’s Feast! Oh, joyous day! Simply stunning movie & so visually *fat*. That turtle being lugged into the kitchen! What were they thinking? & the barbed undercurrents.

    I’m glad some things are working for you. One day at a time. Just do the next thing. May I suggest Australia? Everything here is out to get you. Guaranteed to keep you busy surviving. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. Just Julie says:

    Yes, I will watch the movie again someday, Ganeida. I was struck by how Babette didn’t even go into the dining room, but gave everything she had from the hard work and obscurity of the kitchen. So many spiritual parallels there. I would come to Australia in a heartbeat if the plane ride weren’t 87 years long. ๐Ÿ™‚ xoxo

  5. Ganeida says:

    Come anyway & do what all the sensible people do: stopovers where the shopping is good! ๐Ÿ˜€

  6. Just Julie says:

    Ahhh…. But I am not a shopper. Books maybe.

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