Monday, June 29, 2009

a good and busy day

Today was roaring Monday. You know, one of those where you feel as if you've already lapped yourself a few times before you even get out the door. My before-work checklist was only half-done, and I arrived at work a little late. BUT the network and internet was down (meaning I could neither access my saved files nor photo accounts) so I was able to cull through CDs of old work to save some of my creations. I had planned to do that next week, but seeing as I had nothing else to do but wait, I did that for an hour. After that, I clocked out and headed to the grocery store. By the time I got home, unloaded, and was debating whether or not to call and see if things were restored, I got the phone call saying not to come back until tomorrow. WHOHOOO!
I took pictures of today's work, but they won't be posted until tomorrow.
  1. Chicken pen supplies...we now have them all, with help coming this weekend to put it together!
  2. Medicine - prescription dropped off and filled!
  3. Dr's office - form signed, picked up, and delivered to...
  4. Rex Wellness Center- I'm officially roped in and have the first part of my "physical testing" on Friday afternoon.
  5. yardwork - picked Mrs. Bryan's blueberries for her AND watered my garden

And best of all...my peas are coming up! I only planted them this past Friday, and wasn't expecting them for another 5-8 days! Bobby was laughing at me because I dreamed I went out this morning and everything I planted Friday had not only sprung up but had bloomed...totally unrealistic, but hey! So I was thrilled to see all these little plant heads popping up out of the ground.

And, because there's a lot of laundry to do and my kitchen is more than a tad messy, I wiped off my sweat and...took pictures! I actually got quite close to the little rabbit who eats clover in our front yard every morning and evening (and for a while enjoyed some of my cabbage plants!) but is very careful to stay right outside the dog's fence line. Who knows? After I get Bobby squared away for the evening I might even open today's mail!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

the future

There will come a day when my feet do not hurt,
When I can find every piece of paper I need without having a search party,
When as I get ready my clothes will be hanging in my closet instead of the dirty basket,
When I can enter a new situation without fighting panic inside,
When I will never lose train of thought mid-sentence,
When I will be organized.

There will come a day.
Meanwhile, I'll continue to daydream.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

hm

Earlier this week I posted a baby quilt (leftover from Lyd's yard/craft sale)on CraigsList. After getting no hits and seeing the alarming amount of baby stuff listed, I reposted under the arts and crafts section yesterday. Today I had two hits. One suggesting another website that she thought the quilt would sell well on, and the other was very strange. The lady said I must be either desperate for money or looking for a job so to contact her. I deleted her e-mail. I'm not looking for a job and we're trusting God to do His part in providing adoption funds for the Wells while trying to do ours. I just wanted to sell a quilt! Between all the horror stories coming out about CraigsList and the recent article on human trafficking in North Carolina in Bobby's recent law journal, the last thing I want to do is reply to an e-mail from someone who thinks I'm desperate. That was more than a little creepy.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

a month long vacation

It's not uncommon for people in Europe to get a whole month off for vacation. Now, I know people who here who get four weeks of vacation, but I imagine if any of them tried to take them all at one time they would be looking for another job! Yet, at this moment, the thought of a month-long vacation sounds very appealing.
I know there would still be laundry and cooking to do, but could you imagine 3 weeks of reading, sleeping, sewing, walking, and writing at either the mountains or the beach? (Yes, I know I left a week out, but you have to reserve some time for stuff around the house!) How fabulous would that be?
I think growing up on a traditional school calendar spoiled me quite a bit. It doesn't matter what job I've been in, come summer time I feel like I should be at home, working outside and reading books. Unfortunately in adult life it doesn't happen that way. In some ways I think children who are in year-round schools have a better understanding of how the real world operates as far as schedules are concerned. They won't have to adapt to the year-long work mentality.
But seeing as how there won't be a month-long vacation, I'll just hunker down and snatch a few vacation breather moments here and there. And just think...in 2 weeks I'll actually have breather moments every single day! Whoohoo!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

wonder and thankfulness

My heart hurts for the people of Iran and their turmoil. In the 2000 US presidential election, I feared our country could very well be headed the same direction. I think everyone breathed a sigh of relief when 2004 ended without much contention. But it also makes me stop and think about how truly dramatic and impressive our democratic republic and its transfer of power is. So many times we hear of murder, civil protests, hunger strikes, military abuse, police brutality and voter fraud when we hear of nations during election time. I think of Belarus, and how one of the last three presidential contenders was found dead on a dark road, and the other was mysteriously imprisoned two weeks before election. How can a prisoner be a president? Is it any wonder their President stayed in office? While I didn't vote for Obama and I'm not crazy about many of his policies, I am still very proud of our country and its peaceful transition of power. I was thankful the Bush's exited with integrity, didn't vandalize and demean the White House like its earlier predecessors did, and for the most part have refrained from criticizing the current administration. If I were Bush, I'd have probably come out and said, "Uhhuh. Told you so." after Obama reneged on his promise to close Guantanamo. But we never heard a word from the man.
I have never witnessed people dying in the streets after an election. I have witnessed panicked poll officials when we had missing ballots, and I witnessed their dedication and integrity as we counted, recounted, and counted again to ensure the total, and we refused to sign off as if everything was okay. What does that say about our nation?
I like to think that our nation will always have a peaceful transfer of power. Yet I fear as we continue to "every man do that which is right in his own eyes" that peace will slowly erode. For as we eliminate absolute standards, we will eliminate the very principles that give us orderly transfers of power.
For now I am thankful. But I also wonder how many more election cycles will occur before such a news story as Iran will be the US.

Monday, June 22, 2009

so it took ten years

Yesterday at lunch my mother-in-law started teasing me about my pathetic little garden. And for the first time in ten years, I was actually able to TRULY laugh and not just put on my pretend smile. Maybe it's because I don't expect my garden to fall into "true garden" status, but I just hope for enough fresh produce for the summer. Maybe it's because I know she's right, AND I also know where she's coming from. Or MAYBE after almost ten years, I have arrived where mother-in-law jabs (and yes, hers are innocent and well-intended with love) no longer bother me.

My in-laws lived through the Great Depression. My mother-in-law still has her family's ration book from WWII. One of my father-in-law's favorite sayings was "Hard times are coming. Better be prepared." I can still hear him saying it. Bob would duct-tape his worn-out tennis shoes together to wear in the garden or when tending to cows or fishing. He saw no point in ruining good shoes for dirty work when his modified old ones worked just fine. He also firmly believed in planting extra crops in case some of them didn't "make." His garden filled about an acre, and filled not only his freezers but his children's and others as well. Despite what all the experts say, he never rotated his crops because he said they grew well where they were, so why change things?

Then there's me. I didn't use RoundUp on my garden area before tilling this year, and I only tilled it once. It has five rows (one of which has yet to produce anything), and grows more grass than produce. My whole "garden" could be placed on about 1/2 of one of his bean rows. When my mother-in-law saw it, the grass had not been weeded in 2.5 weeks. The grass was so bad that our yard boys couldn't tell where my garden started and mowed down my two watermelon plants. And between the wild rabbits and grass, my cabbage heads are still the size of an orange.

HENCE, I weeded this weekend. It's time to pull the snow peas up, retill, and plant something else. We've only had a few servings from them this year, and I probably won't plant them again next year. Somehow we've had two corn plants come up right outside the garden (I have NO clue how they got there). Everything else is woefully small and sad. (especially after seeing Dad's garden last week!) But I've enjoyed what little time I've spent out there. And there's still hope of it being productive later in the summer. Perhaps I'll be able to salvage part of it after all. And if not, I can chalk it up to lessons of what not to do next summer.

I am thankful I refrained from extending it further. Can you imagine how pathetic it would be if I actually had more to tend?

Fannie Farmer I'm not. And neither do I have the museum-clean expectations of other generations for my house. And for once I'm actually okay with that. I may not be tomorrow, but today I am.

Slugs or tomato worms, anyone?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

modern dilemma

What would you do if you took your child to a place of amusment, entered the women's bathroom with your daughter, and saw a person whom you weren't totally sure was a female? How would you react, and how would it make you a feel?
An aquaintance recently approached Bobby wanting to know how to deal with a situation in which a customer had recently had a sex change operation. At first the person used a private restroom in the building, but then began using the women's bathroom. Other customers are very uncomfortable and have complained. He wanted to know if he would be guilty of discrimination for telling him to steer clear of the women's bathroom.
Personally, I think if "it" refuses to wear a wig and dress like a woman, then there should be no question about which restroom to use. And I would most certainly be complaining if someone who appeared to be a man was in the same restroom as me.
The saddest thing of all, is that if Obama gets his way, Christian business owners will have no choice but to allow such practices to happen. Should a homosexual apply for a job, they couldn't not hire him or her based on the immorality. It will be interesting to see whether or not our Constitutional right that prohibits government from stopping us exercising our religious faith will be enforced or if it will be squashed like a bug.
I never dreamed in my lifetime we would be faced with such situations and dilemmas, but they are occurring more every day. Some days I feel like digging in my heels and fighting. Other days I long for a cave in the mountains where I can live out my days alone. Unfortunately for me I'm not much of an outdoorsman.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Fiddler on the Roof

on the one hand....but on the other hand.....TRADITION!

I've been thinking about that scene from Fiddler on the Roof lately, as the Father had to decide just how low he was willing to lower his standards. But there's one basic principle the play left out which bothers me: Scripture.

We have a lot of traditions of man which we follow. There's a lot of things that are not clearly spelled out in Scripture. But there are many things that are (or at least spoken of derogatorily enough that in my not so humble opinion it's clearly not a good thing).

When forced to make the painful decision on whether or not to accept his daughter's marriage to a non-believer, the father resorted to the fact that he had to uphold tradition. And that bothers me. Why didn't the playwrights or screenwriters have him revert to Scripture and the Judaic law? The only answer I can come up with is that deep down people recognize the sacredness of spiritual writings. Had the father said, "The Scripture says this is wrong" and proceeded with the historical precedents of people who had done such things and suffered for it, the ending would have had a totally different feel.

But tradition? We all have traditions, and traditions can change or morph over time without anyone suffering for it.

I'm finding that as I age there are more principles that are harder to hold. I'm also finding it harder to keep my attitude in line when faced with such situations. I want to be like Daniel in the foreign land and gracefully maneuver my way through the darkness which surrounds him. Yet so many times it seems my light only creates chaos to the darkness around me instead of the welcome glow I desire. ON THE OTHER HAND, this can be good, for it forces me to re-examine myself AGAIN to see what I'm lacking, which is often painful to see.

And so I struggle in this world. I struggle to live according to the principles I find in Scripture, to abstain from certain things and yet at the same time to live peaceably with all men. And those two commands don't always easily mix.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

mmmmmmmmmmmm

Up until 2 months ago, peanut M&Ms were one of my favorite candies, followed by the peanut butter M&Ms. Then for some strange reason things got a little wonkie and my jaw resorted back to middle school days and began popping in and out for no reason. And the least little things, like taking big bites or chewing anything "meaty" tends to aggravate it. So when the chocolate urge strikes, I now resort to Reese's cups. Can you tell I like chocolate and peanut butter? But then I ran across a coupon on Sunday's paper for this:

Now, I love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, with grape jelly being the best and strawberry coming in a very close second. But somehow the thought of peanut butter and strawberry something being surrounded with chocolate does NOT appeal to me in the least little bit. I never ever thought I would say this, but for the first time in my life I read a description of M&Ms and said, "EEeeewwww!" Bobby finds this funny. He thinks as much as a like chocolate and nuts, that adding strawberry to it would be delicious. Somehow I'm just not so sure.
SOOoooo....who wants to be the first to try them and give a report? I think I may have even saved the coupon.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sweet Home Alabama

As always when we travel, there's no such thing as a full night's sleep. And when I woke up at 6am NC time (5am back home), I got to see the sun come up and hear a symphony of birds and owls every single morning. Granted, there were many mornings I let them sing me back to sleep, but it was still glorious to hear. And without all the parking and street lights and such glaring at night, the stars were shining in all their glory. And of course, it wouldn't be a summer trip home if it didn't involve picking beans or peas and shelling. Thankfully the corn wasn't ready. I'll gladly leave the corn-shucking contest days in my past.


On the festive side, I got to visit a new town and experience new things. First, a small diner with the best fish I have EVER had. It would almost melt in your mouth. The owner, whose name I didn't get, was friends with Amie, my new sister-in-law, and was very friendly and helpful. Somehow we ended up sitting with her bridesmaids and their families, and they were all very easy to talk to. Usually I hate sitting with strangers because I can't think of anything to say or feel like an intruder, but they didn't make me feel that way at all.

While there, a bad storm came up, blowing out several transformers. We made it through all the blank traffic lights only to find a dark house. An hour before departure time for the wedding, everyone headed different directions to a relative's house to get ready as we still were without power. I never heard whether or not Amie's house lost power, but she looked beautiful. I'll probably post wedding day pictures on Facebook so relatives can see them (they don't visit my blog even though it's open), and I'm heading to bed after an already over-full day.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

4.5 hours

To those of you who know I struggle with habitual procrastination (my husband says I just have no concept of time), it would be absolutely no surprise that we will get up in 4.5 hours to start getting ready, and I am only halfway through packing.
This seems to happen with every trip. I stay up half the night before cleaning house and packing while Bobby sleeps, then we pull out around 5am and I sleep 6-8 hours of the 13 hour drive. Am I a wonderful traveling companion or what?
The craziest part of all is that I actually had today off work. But I have a cousin my age up from home (her husband is in training in Cary for the next two weeks), so I spent the day with her and her two teenage girls. They assisted me in picking out the quilt backing from the quilt (I'll have to post that later as it's a story in and of itself.) then we went shoe shopping and in search of a dress. I came home to tend to some details, then we joined them for supper. I have laughed and reminisced so much today, and I think it'll be a little easier to come home knowing she'll still be here when I get back.
I am currently contemplating whether or not I want to take my sewing machine with me. A part of me says, "Yes, by all means." Tomorrow I can recruit Mom and nieces and siblings to pin quilt parts while I sew. Who knows? Before I leave to come home I could have the remaining 1/3 of the quilt top finished!
I most likely won't have internet access while I'm gone, but hopefully by next Tuesday evening I'll have a ton of pictures and stories to share!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

the bridge

Let's say every other day in the course of your comings and goings, you cross a bridge. Granted, there are other ways to get to the precipice on the other side, but keep in mind that climbing down a mountain takes time (not to mention the climb back up), and training a pet eagle to fly you across might not be the safest alternative. And to make things more interesting, let's say this is a swinging bridge. So every other day you make the trek back and forth across hanging boards to maintain life as you know it. Some days the bridge swings more than others; some days it shakes. But hey, it is a swinging bridge, after all.
And then, one crazy day, you almost drop something. As you crawl on all fours to gather your packages, you notice one of the underlying support ropes is a little loose. Not loose enough for the boards to come untied or loose enough for the bridge to break into a free-spirited swing, but nevertheless, loose.
The next few weeks you hesitate before stepping out, then slowly and gingerly make your way across. The bridge is unchanged. Some days it sways. Some days it shakes a little. But now you know the danger is lurking underneath.
One day you get the bright idea of adding a stronger support rope underneath the loose rope, but you quickly realize it's still not taut enough to hold all the boards together.
The bridge and its supports have not changed; your knowledge of it has.
Do you still keep crossing for supplies?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

aUUAuuAAgghhhH! my six month check up

Can you believe we are embarking on the last month of the first half of this year?!?!?!? It seems absolutely incredulous!
I am happy to report that I did get a few things accomplished during May, my "catch up" month.
I managed to work through Chapter One in the Dreamweaver text, though I fear most of it was following instructions and not really grasping the text. Nevertheless, a few project ideas have sprouted. (Yes, I know. I'm supposed to be COMPLETING projects, not dreaming up new ones.) I reserve the right to rescind the following project's deadline, but by Jan '10 I hope to have my own designed website. NOTE: I reserve the right to rescind both this project and deadline!

THE Quilt: is still in pieces, haha. Actually, the first 3.5 rows are completed and sewn together. Rows 4-5 are in the process of being put together, and goodness knows how many rows are pinned together. SOOO, shall we say there is hope? My older sister has graciously agreed to embroidery something in each corner before I quilt, so my target goal is to take the completed quilt top to Alabama next week. If she can complete the embroidery work by the end of summer, then maybe I can have it completed by Christmas. If not, it'll just have to wait until their first wedding anniversary.

The garden: is there. I picked, shelled, and blanched two servings of peas tonight. And by two servings, I literally mean Bobby and I would both get three bites each. The aisles are still not completely covered with pine straw. I have succumbed to reality twice now and actually MOWED two aisles. BUT my peas, cabbage, and tomato rows are all surrounded by straw. Unfortunately I still need to weed between the plants. When I asked Bobby how my garden looked after watering tonight, he replied "it looks like you have plants growing up in the yard."

The nesting area for the geese: The door is semi-up. I stapled boards to the wire, purchased the hooks to hold it in place, and the hooks are.....still in the back of Bobby's van. Tomorrow perhaps? And of course the geese aren't too crazy about it. Two did set in the duck house, hatching two goslings, both of whom we lost within two days. Maybe next year.

BUT.....my four chickens, or "Bobby's girls" as I should call them, have usurped everything on my project list (except the quilt). They are doing well, thoroughly enjoy the free range time that Bobby gives them by insisting the dogs be locked up a few hours every day, and are getting bolder as they roam and a little harder to herd back in their house. They have also destroyed two (at least) of my pea plants in their scavenge for bugs.

So life goes on. I may not reign as the queen of unfinished projects, but I'm fairly close to the throne.

Monday, June 1, 2009

hoop #2

Well, we've officially jumped through medical hoop #2. Whoohooo! We'll jump into hoop #3 tomorrow, and we'll see where that one takes us. I recognize the practicality of specialists not seeing new patients without a referral, (can you imagine how swamped they'd be if anyone could just call up and come?) but there are times when it seems absolutely unnecessary. It's one of those times when I feel like we're being punished because there are people who abuse the system. Meanwhile, we can strike another item off the list of potential causes that are making life occasionally interesting in the Bryan household.

I'm also finding this whole matter of "purging" records bizarre. I can understand in the old days that doctors would probably purge their files of patients they hadn't seen in a while because they simply didn't have the space to store huge amounts of paper files. But in today's technology-filled offices, that should no longer be an excuse. Two years ago Bobby's brother was sick and called to make an appointment with his doctor. He was told he wasn't a patient at the facility. He informed them he had been going there all his life, but the lady didn't want to budge. He finally insisted she go ask the doctor. She did, the doctor agreed to see him, and she gave him a lecture about not waiting 6-8 years between visits. Today I called a specialist that Bobby has seen in the past, and he's no longer on file because he hasn't been to that office many, many years.

Meanwhile, we'll fill out forms and jump through hoops.