Thursday, October 30, 2008

the race is on

When the frost is on the backyard, and the hulls start opening wide;
It's time to harvest pecans...watch those dogs' deep dive!

Wednesday's Pecan War Totals:
Monica 15
Linus 4

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

edification


2 weeks ago at work, we had to send files of graphics we had created to another church. It took almost 2 days to pull everything they wanted and then condense it to a sendable format. I was also a little frustrated by the whole concept. It's common practice that anything you design for the company you work for is considered their property. So if you design a logo for a business, you charge a higher rate because hopefully that logo will be in use for years and years to come. If you simply design a letterhead, it doesn't cost quite so much because that gets updated periodically. Anything you know that will get multiple uses has a higher fee. Then you have my situation, which is an hourly rate, and because it is a church, is substandard pay for the industry. Again, a common practice. Yet it frustrated me a little bit that something I had spent weeks creating was being given away for free. I agree with the principle. Ministries should share resources. And I totally agree with that. But when I stop and think about all the churches who are using my designs, and my pay is already lower than average to begin with, it makes me feel as if my work is cheap or worthless. And yes, I do hear Mom's voice whispering, "Kingdom work has heavenly pay" but that doesn't comfort a whole lot when I spend hours on something that I know will be given away without any compensation in any form or fashion. So we sent all the files. Turns out this church has its own graphics department, AND the Adobe software we use, so they wanted the original files to modify (and for a design firm to turn over original, modifiable files, that would cost an arm and a leg). I typed a nice sweet e-mail, and grudgingly sent them. Last week I got the above flowers delivered to my office with a very nice thank you. As stupid as this sounds, those two days I spent giving away my work to another church suddenly didn't seem so outrageous. It's nice to be appreciated, and it was nice knowing that someone recognized what was "above and beyond" my job description without me ever saying a word. Now if I could only get a raise.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

to write, or not to write

NaNoWriMo starts Nov 1. If you're reading this and thinking, HUH?, NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month. You sign up at their website, and on Nov 1 you start an entirely new piece of work and write like mad for the entire month. Your target goal is to have an entire novel, or 50,000 words written by midnight on November 30. Not a polished novel mind you, but a rough draft. You can work on an outline or character chart before Nov 1, but the novel itself cannot be started until the first of November. I signed up last year, and was all pumped and excited, only to tell Bobby and get this response "And when do you think you're going to have time to do this?" I was able to fit in daily writing for about a week, and that was it. I'm still in a quandary over whether or not tackle it. A part of me says go for it, the other part of me says it would be absolutely insane. I mean, Nov 3-5 is out. By the time I get home from work on the 3rd, set-up for election day, work an insane amount of hours on the 4th, then work a normal day on the 5th, followed by church, I will be drop-dead tired by Thursday afternoon. So technically the 6th is out, too. And somewhere in that month I'll be in AL not writing for several days, along with thinking children's Christmas play and Christmas music. But there's still that little voice inside me crying out "You can find 15 minutes a day to write." Hahaha. As Bobby likes to remind me, my concept of time has never been realistic.
So if you get really bizarre blogs starting next week, you'll know I've gone insane and taken the plunge into NaNoWriMo.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

a madhouse

On my way home from the ladies' get together, I had a few errands to run at White Oak Shopping Center. As I make the first turn, I see sign after sign after sign: 10%, 20%, 30% off! Going out of Business Sale! Linens-N-Things

Linens-N-Things is one of those places I shop when there's a really good sale or someone has a bridal registry there. At holidays and special sale days, you can get nice tablecloths for a great price, and sometimes sheet sets as well. So I went, and SLOWLY maneuvered my way through the crowded aisles to browse. The sale prices aren't knock-down-dragout sales, but I am a little sad to the store go. Part of that is because I hate to see empty buildings, though. Now, if they will only put a quilting/fabric store or a bookstore there. Wouldn't that be awesome?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

holiday birthdays

December 23, 1972 had a full moon -a perfect night for a young adult Sunday school class to go hayriding and Christmas caroling. After the music, they congregated at the pastor's house for a potluck meal: ladies in one room, men in the other. As my Dad took his first bite of dessert, a lady came in and told him he had to go - my Mom was in labor. After everything was cleaned and put away, a group of men followed the hay from Dad's truck to a nearby hospital. I've been told they managed to get to the nursery and sang, "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" though my Mom disputes that. All I know is that has never been my favorite Christmas carol.
As a child, I sometimes hated having a birthday so close to Christmas. Parties could never be held on your birthday, and sometimes you had to accept Christmas goodies in place of a birthday cake. On the other hand, I never had to go to school on my birthday, and many times my Christmas and birthday present got combined, and I got a bigger present than a normal birthday would warrant. By my teen years, my birthday often meant a last minute rush to Birmingham for the whole family to spend the WHOLE day Christmas shopping. Though the day was VERY long, it was neat because that was about the only time our family ate out. Otherwise, our family tradition of the birthday person chooses the birthday meal continued. As an adult, I don't mind having a birthday near the holidays. I like Christmas, I enjoy everything being festive and decorated, and it means every other year I'm guaranteed having my birthday with my family. But I never know how to answer (other than yes) when someone asks me what I got for my birthday. Birthday and Christmas come too close together to remember what was what. I may have gotten one big thing, or two things that go together, or I may have several packages under the tree and I get to choose one to open on my birthday. So Sara, how's all that to say...Bobby is a great gift giver, but I don't remember which ones were Christmas and which ones were birthday gifts.

Monday, October 20, 2008

things we do for love

Saturday we had a baby shower for Bobby's niece. As I was making the mints, Bobby asked what else was on the menu. After I recited off the litany of items, he responded with "No peanut butter?! This shower is for Hannah! What's she going to eat?" (Hannah has had stomach problems over the years and has been unable to tolerate many foods, but peanut butter has been her staple.) Despite my assurances that she would enjoy the foods we were having, he was adamant that I needed to make peanut butter & jelly sandwiches for the shower. Even though I protested that NOBODY took that to a shower, he persisted, and informed me I could make them dainty with my little cutter. And so I did. To my surprise all but 3 were eaten. Who'd a thunk it?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

my warped mosquito theory

For some bizarre reason, there are some of us placed on this earth to be mosquito food. Mind you, that is not our sole purpose, but it is definitely high up on the list. I've met a few others like me - you can go outside in almost any weather and within seconds hear the buzz. Sure enough, when you go inside, little red or white lumps are amassed any place skin has shown. Meanwhile people like my dear husband can be outside the same amount of time, at the exact same time, exposing the same amount of skin AND NEVER GET A BITE. My little sister was the same way. Which leads me to my very unscientific and untried theory. Naomi and Bobby both are salty over sweet eaters. Given a choice between potato chips and chocolate, they'd both take chips. Well, Bobby might take both. Present them with either buttered popcorn or chocolate, they'd take the popcorn. Me? Chocolate. Anyone who knows me wouldn't even ask, they'd just offer the chocolate. So my warped mosquito theory is that there is something genetic going on here that makes my body crave sweet things, and maybe that is why mosquitoes crave me.
And for those of you wondering, yes, I'm writing this having had little sleep and also having had real sweet tea at supper tonight. Caffeine can do wonders. Whether those wonders are good or bad we'll save for another discussion.

Monday, October 13, 2008

little girls and dresses

Next to sponge rollers, I can't think of anything I disliked more as a child than wearing a dress. I was reminded of that again on Sunday. As always, a certain young tot needed to use the restroom, and seeing as Middle School toilets (our church is renting a school building on Sundays) are NOT easily accessible to two-four year old little bodies, lifting a child up onto the seat is required. It's one of those times when you want to be an octopus. There's this tiny little person with a beautiful, frilly dress and a long sassy bow - that takes both of her hands to hold up, and she could probably use a third. About the time she manages to get her dress out of the way, she looks up at you with one of those deer caught-in-the-headlight looks and lets go with one hand as she attempts to maneuver her tights and undies. So I hold the dress and bow while she shimmies, then she wads her dress into small bundles. About the time I get her on the seat I realize her bow is coming undone, leaving a trailing line right towards the open toilet. And people wonder why we leave the flowing, beautiful dresses behind to our childhood.
And for all these people who talk about teaching beauty, modesty, and decency to our girls: did you know that most Christian schools who require dresses also require for the girls 3rd grade and under to wear SHORTS under them? Little girls love to climb up the slide. They climb on the monkey bars - and turn flips --all in a dress. And little boys, even though they know absolutely nothing, will look and giggle.
Sometimes I wonder what I would do if I had a little girl. Would I attempt to dress her up? My Mom would probably say that if I ever had a little girl, she'd pray very hard that the kid would be prissy (because I wasn't and I'm still not) and gave my little sister quite a hard time for being so. But realistically, even if Bobby and I could have children, any child of ours would be crawling up the back of his chair and jumping off or turning flips, and I just can't see that in a dress. While I'm not athletic, my piano teacher used to laugh and tell my Mom to make me do my lesson either first or last (there were three of us taking) so I could either get it over with and head outside to climb her oak trees, or let me climb until dark and then I'd be having lessons when I couldn't play. Wasn't Mrs. Nunly nice and understanding? It's just too bad they didn't make nice dress pants for girls when I was little.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

motivation

There are days when I reach a point when everything seems futile. Then the smallest thing happens and makes me realize just how blessed I truly am. Today was one of those days.
My cousin sent me a forwarded e-mail, and I decided to google it and see if the story was true. It's not only true, it was even more amazing than the e-mail suggested.
To read and see the works of an amazing artist who overcame numerous obstacles, visit this website:
http://www.paulsmithfoundation.org/
It's well worth the browsing.

Friday, October 10, 2008

unusual pm events

Monday: Precinct Transfer Official Training (and I FORGOT to take the dogs to the vet!)
Tuesday: Greenville, NC - NC GOP Victory Rally


Senator Elizabeth Dole (we were in the overflow section at the Stadium instead of in the Gym)







Pat McCrory and Elizabeth Dole addressing the outside audience.

Wednesday: Nursery at church
Thursday: Hospital visit and housework and Survivor!
Friday: choir clinic...and an afternoon visit from Robert!

Saturday:housework, choir concert
Sunday: church
Monday: Statutory Election Training
Tuesday: take the dogs to the vet since I forgot this week
Wednesday: church
Thursday: SURVIVOR and absolutely NOTHING!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

conspiracy theories

It happens every election year, but given the high interest in this year's presidential election, I've heard more crazy theories than ever before.
From election day training & the dr.'s office:
the Democrats:
1. You know, voters will be showing up to campaign at the poles, and when they go in to vote all the Republican officials are going to tell them to leave because they can't campaign in the polling place (wearing t-shirts are buttons IS allowed in Wake County inside the polling place as long as they're coming in to vote and not mill around). We're going to lose all these votes because people won't know any better and will leave. They'll do everything they can to stop us from voting.
2. They keep calling him "Hussein Obama" to make people think he's a terrorist (we won't comment on the fact that IS his middle name). You just watch, they're going to get him killed.
the Republicans:
1. They do it every time there's a black person on the ballot. They drive vans to the nursing homes and get all these mentally ill people and bring them in then "assist" them in voting. All they're really doing is getting extra votes. That's how they're going to win the election.
2. If ___________(any Democratic candidate) gets in office, then no one can afford health care, afford to retire, all your gun and religious rights will be totally stripped away, blah, blah, blah, blah.
and my conspiracy theory of the day:
Duke University Clinics intentionally make you wait at LEAST an hour after your appointment before they call you back, then you wait at LEAST 30-45 minutes after the nurse sees you before you see the doctor, then you wait 20 minutes to check out, so by the time you get back to your vehicle, you're required to pay at least $3 just to leave the parking deck. I'm sure someone in the parking deck is either getting a kickback or is bribing the doctors somewhere in there. It's gotta be a conspiracy.
Our crazy human nature: if something doesn't go according to our beliefs or plans, there's gotta be a conspiracy somewhere.

Monday, October 6, 2008

hmmm

Who decides what goes in the news?
Who decided that even though Russia has decided to conduct live missile tests from Oct 6-12 (the first time since the 1980's) in the Arctic Circle (across Belarus and near Alaska) and it's being reported in England, in Israel, and in many other countries, that it wasn't newsworthy for America?
And why did we send a battleship off the coast of Georgia the day before Russia announced these tests?
Are these tests retaliation for that act as Israel claims?
Is it simply Russia flexing its muscles as England claims?
And why are our presidential candidates keeping mum on this issue?

october weekends

Seeing as we have something EVERY SINGLE WEEKEND for the rest of this month, we spent this weekend very selfishly, and enjoyed every minute of it.

Thursday night, while Bobby was away at a meeting, I watched VP debates and finished marking off his quilt top.

Unfortunately, the material I have for the backing isn't quite enough, so I made a quick trip to Cary after work Friday to find something else. Then it's rush home so we can head to a Pat McCrory fundraiser. I'll comment on political fundraisers and whatnot later.

Saturday, we headed to an "antique country auction" which was a bit of a joke. We looked around, and then headed home. On the way back we stopped at Clemmons and walked the tree trail. We were both a little puzzled by this tree, especially when we started seeing several like this. Then Bobby spotted a small one that had a vine wrapped around it. Evidently the tree finally outgrew the vine, but not without the vine leaving its mark.


This is the strangest mushroom I have ever seen. All my sideshots of it turned out fuzzy, but it seemed to grow on the sides instead of in the middle. And my favorite thing to find as a child: the homes of pretend little people or Winnie the Pooh. Don't you just love the little window at top!

I don't think I'm quite up to the 2.2 mile trail yet (especially if I have to push Bobby's wheelchair over roots!) but I think we'll get there eventually. Meanwhile, the countdown has begun. 7 weeks to Turkey Day, the Iron Bowl, and Sweet Home Alabama!

Friday, October 3, 2008

the artistic side of fall

One of the many artistic things I enjoy seeing in the fall is carved pumpkins. There are many detailed faces, carved smiles, unusual positions, but my favorite is the creative designs. Here's one that someone spent a LOT of time on:



the death star from Star Wars!
http://www.fantasypumpkins.com/2006-pumpkins/deathstar1.jpg
there's many variations of this on the web
http://www.productdose.com/phpwiki/uploads/Tyler/99927813144d5f02e14eb77a5a851015_pop.gif
I love the fact that they used the stem for the nose instead of cutting the stem portion off...how creative!
http://img.hgtv.com/HGTV/2007/07/12/halloween_carved_pumpkin_w609.jpg

Very creative! I would have NEVER thought about carving the world into a pumpkin! www.coyoteblog.com/.../2006/11/my_pumpkin.html
Now, I don't know if that is real food inside the pumpkin, but this is a VERY creative carving. I've found this on many sites in many forms without credit, so I don't have a link to post on this one.

And for my all-time favorite:
I've seen several variations of this one. There's one that has the eyes with slits and it makes the pumpkin looking as if it's really in pain and sick. But that one is copyrighted with a watermark on the picture so I'm not going to post that one. This is close enough.

There's a lot of other creative carvings out there that are just downright sick, but these were some of my favorites. I've only carved a pumpkin once. It's not all that easy. And not wanting to be wasteful, I saved the actual pumpkin and made pumpkin pies, which I discovered I'm not all that crazy about. I wanted to try again this year, but with the dogs I'd be surprised if it lasted a night. That's too much work and time to have my little savages rip it apart or eat it. So I'll be content to browse the net and see what others have done.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

health care

Growing up, over half the time my family didn't have health insurance. We were fortunate to grow up in a very small town where the doctor's knew you by name (or at least read your charts before they walked in the room, but also would at least recognize your face if they saw you in the grocery store or Penney's). Most of them were extremely helpful. They'd require the payment amount that insured people had to pay, and the rest you could pay off on a payment plan. But it was both known and understood that people with insurance received better health care coverage than those without.
When my uncle was first diagnosed with cancer (they were also uninsured), there were several tests that should have been done that weren't. Years later, as the cancer had recurred in different places, the oncologist was shocked to discover those tests had never been performed - until he saw on the chart they didn't have health insurance. Even though my aunt and uncle had been willing to give up their entire savings to pay for it, the doctors decided it wouldn't be enough. And sadly, after seeing how much our insurance company paid for Bobby's last hospital bill, they were probably right. I often wonder if he'd survived had those tests been done.
While I DON'T want to go to a socialized health care program (where the gov pays for everything - like China, Canada, etc - I've witnessed the apathy and incompetence such programs provide) I AM in favor of a limited market approach to health care. For example, the discount prices that insurance companies get on medicines and procedures - those should be given to everyone. Let's say a medicine, 3x a day for a month costs $200, but if you have insurance, they mark the price down to $75, and you only pay $30 of that. Why should a non-insured person have to pay the full $200? Why not charge them the $75 as well? I know this concept might violate the whole principle of a free market economy, but I think our prices should be the same for everyone, whether it be an individual or a non-insured person. I don't have a problem with the government putting a cap on prices.
And while I understand that insurance companies lose money on their un-healthy patients, it infuriates me that my premium substantially went up last year- because I aged one year and moved into a new category!!! For no other reason than the fact that I aged one year, and that put me in a new age bracket, my insurance goes up almost $200. That's absurd. I've been to urgent care once this year. All my other numerous doctor visits have been accompanying sick family members. How does that make me more of a health risk!?
Personally, I would like for every member of Congress and their families to be without health care for two years. THEN they could tackle the issue of health insurance. But as it stands now, we have Marie Antoinette's "let them eat cake" mentality. (And for those who don't know the story, she was queen before the French Revolution. When people came to her with information that people were starving in the streets and had no bread, she shrugged and said, "Let them eat cake." She so totally didn't get it.)
And that's my morning rant.