Friday, September 28, 2012

You know you're from Alabama when...

You know you're from Alabama when...

a group of shopping girls becomes a football commercial

you can imagine high school classmates doing this to each other in 30 years

every other commercial on television involves football

every radio announcer says something about football on game day

if you go shopping on game day 90% of the people will be wearing their team's colors or shirt

you don't understand why people are surprised a girl will watch football

Roll Tide.



Thursday, September 27, 2012

leash training

Our dog has the capacity to drive me crazy.
I've been trying off and on to train him on a leash. (and yes, I hear all you dog whisperes out there...that's the problem. You're not being consistent.)
The biggest problem? Buster thinks EVERYTHING is a game.
Put the leash on him? No problem.
Start to walk?  Not so much a problem.
Keep walking? Then he throws himself up in the air, flips, grabs the leash with both front paws and WILL NOT LET GO. If I pull him up, he won't flip over, but just lets it hang himself. If I keep walking, he just lets me drag him on the ground. It's not fun. By the time we were finished last night my joints were KILLING me and I was so mad at both the dog and my husband that it wasn't even funny.
And we get to do it again today. I think I'd rather go to the dentist (which I also hate beyond measure).

breaking news

The reason for drop in egg production has been discovered. Pics to come Saturday. Pulling out the incubator - again!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Panera Bread

Back when I was a working girl, most of my colleagues went out to eat at least once a week. Many of them went out every single day. Two of the ladies were fast drivers, and their favorite thing to do was race to the next town of Cary so we could eat at Panera Bread. We would rush their, semi-slowly eat our food, then fly back and try not to laugh as someone got onto us for taking too long on our lunch break. (My justification note: she would go out with the pastors once a month and be gone 2 hours AND unlike the upper staff we had to clock in and out for lunch so we weren't shorting the church of their time and money as we would work 5-10 minutes later if needed to get all our time in). Granted, we didn't do that often, but still those are fun memories.

I was reminded of those days today as I got a survey in my inbox from Panera Bread. I'm not going to fill it out, as I couldn't tell you when the last time I ate there was. I love their food, but it's not something I get to have very often, and it's not something I would drive to Cary or Raleigh to eat by myself. And somehow I don't think it's the place Bobby would like to eat. He's more of a Toot-N-Tell or Carolina BBQ kind of guy.

And speaking of food, our microwave has died. It will run, but it won't heat or defrost anything. We've looked at a few, but I'm now seriously considering how important is it that we replace it. At the current moment using a scale of 1 being not at all and 10 being do it today, I'm a little over 5. I might not think it's such a big deal now, but by mid-October when I'm coming home late and needing to heat up leftovers for supper, I may really want that quick convenience the microwave offers. And I've had a microwave since I was in the 4th grade. It's hard to think of life without on, but we've done it for the last week now and been okay. It's really making me stop and think about how much I use it.

Monday, September 24, 2012

the hushed conversations

We normally think about conversations as things that happen over the phone, through e-mail, or in the hallway at church or the aisle near the Targer pharmacy or in passing at the gym. (Yeah, I do live a schedule life.) But lately I've been thinking a lot about the conversations we should be having, but don't. And I've come to the conclusion that it's because these topics are often hushed due to the emotional impact they have. So here's what my brain's been hopping around a lot the last few months.

  • The "even if...still" passages of the Bible. I don't think I've ever heard a sermon on these verses. Actually, now that I think about it, it would be a very short sermon, so maybe that's why. But in all honesty, why are we so scared to think about or discuss the phrases where ancient believers boldly asserted God could do the "impossible", but then went even further to say "but even if God doesn't do this, I'll still serve/worship/honor Him."?  I'm thinking of Job and the 3 Hebrews in the fiery furnace here. And I'm also thinking of the 6+ blogs I'm following of family & friends fighting serious illnesses and hardships. It scares me so much to read statements like "I WILL walk to my son's high school graduation. I have faith." (when her son is 5 and she has an illness that no one has yet survived).  So what happens when her faith doesn't give her what she wants? Does that make her faith any less real or valid? When my husband broke his neck 32 years ago, a well-meaning believer informed him they knew God would heal him because he lived a righteous life. (People and churches in the area were praying around the clock that first month for healing.) And when God chose not to heal him this side of heaven, that person cut off fellowship. Their theology wasn't compatible with day to day reality, so they simply tried to shut out reality. It scares me when believers confuse our relationship with God with our relationship with Santa Claus.
  • "I want my child to be in God's will, but..."  I have heard this SO much lately, where well-meaning believers pray that God will call their child to preach or to a life of full-time Christian service. I rank that right up there with these Dads who push their child in a sport because they desire for them to be in the NBA or major leagues. There's no encouragement for them to seek out their God-given talents, to develop into who GOD wants them to be. It's just the personal desires of the parents that they seek for their child. Maybe that's too harsh, but I do wonder would they be just as happy for their child if they came home and said "I want to be a plumber." Would they enourage them to be the godliest plumber in town? Perhaps my parents emphasized too much the passage that "whatever you do, do it all to God's glory" so much that I don't see more honor in one job than another. We're all laboring together for the same purpose, or at least we should be.
  • Marriage. As I watch my oldest niece struggle through the insane mating rituals of a conservative Christian college (at my graduation from same college, the administration from the college felt compelled to comment that our class was one of the unusual ones because half the class was neither engaged nor married), I want to know why we're not discussing healthy ways to truly get to know people, marriage statistics in the church (and how GLBT community is using those and plan to use those in the future as a way of saying churches don't adhere to biblical principles anyway so we can't exclude them on such grounds), and how to make a healthy marriage. How many young people would rush into an engagement or marriage if they were told that "Marriage is having a forever roommate."?  We talk about the awesomeness of marriage, but not it's heavy responsibilities. I fear we push/encourage marriage before young people are truly ready. Case in point: Why do we ask a young man if he's bought a ring yet for his longtime girlfriend before he's even held a steady job longer than 4 months? How is that encouraging a healthy marriage?
And I'll get off my soapbox for now. But those are the things I ponder, and only occasionally hear another believer quietly mention. And then I know I'm not alone in all my crazy ponderings.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Duke gardens, post 2

I finally got around to charging the battery in my camera and downloading my photos. WHOhooo!
And I'm going to warn you, in case you didn't already know, my view of cool photos doesn't always match everyone else's. :)

 Banana trees (but I don't know if they're the kind that bear fruit or not). I just thought they were cool because they were so tall and yet the leaves allowed sunlight through. Would they make a better  barrier on the property line than a magnolia tree?

 A bamboo fence! I think this was one of my favorite things in the Asian garden.


And another view of the coolest of cool fences.
 
 Lotus plants...this part of the Asian garden made me feel like I was back in China. Bobby was amazed at how far out one plant spreads (the big leaf pads and the smaller leaf pads are all connected at the center where one big white lotus flower grows).

 And this area located in the exotic plants section and named after a botanist, made me feel as if I had stepped back into Narnia. Okay, maybe it was the overhead canopy combined with the humidity, but it had that eery yet exciting feel to it.

And the stone steps that made a shortcut in front of the building in the pic above. I dared Bobby to take his wheelchair across it. He said only if I went first, and we all know he'd push me in! :)
 
 And here you can see the smallest amount of water peeping up through the algae. Yep, all that stuff you thought was grass was just algae sitting on top of water. Pretty gross, huh? Maybe that's why it had such a Narnia feel...it appeared to be forgotten ruins.

But not all was dead nor forgotten. Two algae covered turtles were sunbathing and were sitting so still you'd have thought they were stone statues...no joke!

Obviously I didn't take pictures of all the beautiful and nice scenes we saw, but I did want to show you the cool ones. :)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

cave day

Within the first few years of marriage, my husband calmly looked at me and said without any condemnation, "I think if caves had electricity, you'd be happy living in one, far away from people." or something to that effect.
And there have been many days I've met him at the door or called him at work and semi-jokingly asked "Do you have my cave ready?"
It doesn't mean that my day has been bad, or that I'm upset with anyone.
It simply means some days I find humanity overwhelming.
As in I stay off Facebook because I'm tired of all the comments trivializing the important and maximizing the trivial.
As in I long to hear/read international news and all we hear in American media is a rehashing of the same old problems that we've yet to solve.
As in I hear a lecture with a group of people, and I'm the only one who didn't find it awesome.
As in I feel out of sorts in my world, as if I'm the square peg for a board that only has round holes.
But those feelings don't enable me to clean up the kitchen, or finish another load of laundry, or give me a burst of energy to deal with my crazy dog. And as much as I love rainy days, I don't think my joints would care for living in a damp cave.
So I'm offering up a prayer of thanks for our airy, spacious house, and am very thankful that today I'm not a Chinese woman living with my husband, small child, and elderly in-laws in a one bedroom 900 sq. foot apartment. Their bathrooms are "squat pots" (rubber skids on either side of the floor over a horizontal urinal...you squat over it and pull a string -think old time light fixture strings - to make it flush), so there's no such thing as escaping to the bathroom for privacy.
Yes, there are much worse things than a hermit not having a cave.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

life in the fast lane

I remember in high school moaning one Sunday morning that the school year was going by WAAAYY TOOO SLLOOOWWW. My Sunday school teacher, Mr. Pittman, looked at me, gave a laugh/sigh, then shook his head. After a few minutes, he said the most preposterous thing EVER.
"One day you'll find that time goes by so fast you'll wonder where it went." What a crazy statement!

And now I'm 39 and that is not so crazy. At all.  It actually makes sense. I've thought that more than once in the last four years. Now? I don't bother keeping up with what happened in what year. I keep up with things by the events that happened around them.

I'm reminded of that more than ever as I have my last two "free" weeks of September rapidly approaching. (Not quite sure how planning a Christmas program as Plan A and possibly B are now out the window, sewing 2 Halloween costumes, and inviting a large section of my favorite munchkins over fit into the term "free" but the squares on my calendar aren't inked in too badly.) I look at my calendar and see filled spots through the first Sunday in December, and I wonder how on earth I managed to fill up time slots so quickly. And once all the rush stops after the 2nd Sunday of December, our life will slow down to an almost painful crawl.

And even typing that makes me want to backspace. This last week I've had at least four people say "You don't work, do you?" when I tell them I don't have time to do something. No, I don't get paid for anything I do. No, I do not have children. But I am not idle. Sometimes my life gets so full I am thankful for the days when there is nothing on the calendar. And that only means I have time to semi-catch up on laundry and very neglected household chores.

I like to think Bobby's retirement next year means my life is going to slow down considerably. Realistically, I know it will probably have the opposite effect. But for today, I'm enjoying the fact that it's still August September.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Moving on

There are days when I have to choose to be thankful or sympathetic.
Today is one of them.

I ran out of material for something I am making for someone and had to make a trip to Cary to buy more. But I also had a little time to browse, which was very nice.

I stopped at a friend's consignement sale and found three things in my size, which is unusual.

Stopped for lunch, and encountered a restaurant full of buddies and babies. I headed to the bathroom to pull myself together and found a near-desperate mother trying to reason/help a young son who clearly did not want to be in the women's bathroom or have help from his mom. When I told the clearly exasperated woman "hang in there" before I left, I actually meant it.

I chose the old people seating section. To my left were a group of girls laughing and talking, enjoying themselves quite a bit, and behind me turned out to be two pastors, discussing the emotions and frustrations of losing church members to another church. I found myself enjoying and relaxing in overhearing their conversation much more. (Who wants to talk about purses and GYNs?)

And when I got home to let the chickens out, Buster did come meet me at the henhouse, but he slighltly veered from his new activity of tackling my legs and nipping my feet and pants and actually enjoyed just being petted. So thankful as yesterday I really lost my patience with him.

So now I'm hoping to jump in clean house and cut fabric mode and knock out a few jobs before I meet someone tonight to tackle one of my occasional projects.

Meanwhile my heart is burdened for all the uprisings in the middle east and I'm praying God's will be done, even if it's not what I'd like to see happen. He is gracious; He is Sovereign; He is Holy; He is just; He is patient; He is love, and I am His. And in that, I can rest.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

last of "vacation" days

Yesterday and today Bobby decided he needed to use up some of his vacation time (some of it has to be used by the end of the year and he's got a very crazy schedule in October and December).  And...get this...I had to plan what we were going to do. I was too tired to make a whole lot of plans, and I had several things I wanted/needed to do this week, so we spent yesterday as a day of half-leisure and today has been a semi-normal day.

Duke University is not quite an hour from here, and I have always heard everyone talk about how beautiful and wonderful their gardens are. I went online, found the hours, and we headed there to roam the accessible parts. I was pleasantly surprised that we were able to see 3/4 of the gardens. There's no admission, though you do have to pay for parking ($2 an hour).

I used up the battery on my camera, so pics will have to wait until later. I thoroughly enjoyed it; I think Bobby did even more, and while I'm very sore today, I'm not so sore that I can barely walk. His wheelchair, on the otherhand, was flashing warning signals that the battery was about to go out by evening. If I've used up that many bars on his chair, you know we put in a LOT of walking. :)

And now I'm off to start working on the Christmas program for church. Christmas music anyone?

Monday, September 10, 2012

happy Monday!

Updates:

Mom - she's doing a LOT better. Yesterday was her first day since surgery (on July 6) that she has not had throbbing pain, though the swelling is still atrocious.  She sees one doctor about other issues this week, and when I asked her when she was going to the cardiologist (she's been having problems there but was waiting until after recouping from this surgery to have yet another appt) she said "I'm waiting."  Not sure what we're waiting on this time.

Jamie - my brother-in-law is doing great since having his heart attack and stint placement. He's back at work, and life is normal.

Andy- my brother has yet to see a cardiologist, though his symptoms have somewhat subsided. He was supposed to make an appointment with a different doctor in hopes of getting someone "with manners" as my sister-in-law says.

Ellen - my niece is having a really hard time adjusting to her new school and her sis being at college, though I think she loves the church. I remember the loneliness all too well, and my heart goes out to her. Praying God sends a Christian friend her way, or at least somone she can talk with between classes, soon!

Rachel - the first of three surgeries begin tomorrow. In having to change hospitals to get all the doctors she needed, things have changed. Her cancer has been upgraded to a stage 3, and her treatment plan will now extend till next summer, as opposed to this Christmas. I think the whole family's heart dropped at this diagnosis, as it brought back many painful memories of her Mom Charlotte and her paternal grandmother (my aunt) Ovelene. My heart is going out to Tim, her husband, and Mercy (10) and John. Mercy was just 3 when Aunt Ovelene died, and more than once she said Mercy's antics were the best medicine a grandma could take.

Elections- I got the Garner post for early voting! I loved the Raleigh site where I worked the first time. It was an excellent crew, but I really wanted to be a little closer to home, both for gas and time sake. I had heard sites close to Garner were always heavily requested and hard to get, but figured I had nothing to lose by requesting it. I was shocked when I got the e-mail this weekend! Training starts in about two weeks, though I haven't received a date for when early voting starts. But I do know it's quickly coming! By the end I'll be tired and ready for it all to be over, but I enjoy the job, and it's nice to have something that is just for a short period of time.

And that's an overview of external events happening in my life. I'm so thankful we have a God with ears who hear, even if His answer isn't always what we want to hear! That is such a blessing!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

forward and backward

Perhaps I remember visits to the eye doctor more vividly than the general practitioner because  I wasn't sick when I saw the eye doctor. Growing up we attended teh Alabama School of Opthamoogy. The visits were cheap compared to most eye doctors, but you were checked out twice: one by s student doctor and once by his teacher/supervisor.  For the most part, it was a positive experience, except for third grade. It was summertime, that room was COLD, they left me in there for the longest kind of time imaginable (I watched two cartoons ont eh screen as opposed to one and still had time  to examine every single piece of equipment in that room before climbing bqack iup in my seat and daydreaming and debating whether to poke my head out in the ahllway and yell "Does anybody know I'm here?"
I don't remember whether or not that was the year the student stormed out o the door saying "That's not possible!": and I had to redo EVERY SINGLE TEST with the regular doctor as opposed to the basic eye stuff. i do know that was the year I had to start wearing glasses all the time instead of just for reading adn looking at things for away.That year I got to pick out my own frames, and I thought they were the coolest glasses on the planet. They were Holly Hobby, and the sides swooped like an S. They had pink and purple and green mottled with bron, and I thought I was the coolest kid int he world. I look back now and cringe.
Today was my normal check-up. I missed last year'sexam, so decided I better do it this year. LIke the last six years, the exam doesn't take as long, I can read the smallest line iwthout help, and there's no longer a guessing game or using all th etest tricks I developed a s a child to figure out whether I'm staring at a B, an 8, or a 3 or P.  There's no meeting with someone who has perfect vision trying to help you see without your glasses as you pick out frames, no contact orders. I just paid the bill and left. And that was nice. I wish I had had the lasik surgery sooner.
And I got what is becoming the standard spill from any doctor. Yeah, the encouraging you're getting older and your body is going to start changing (in this case I'll probably need reading glasses again in the next four years, blah, blahd).  But for now, my vision is fine. Well, other than having dilated eyes and not being able to read anything at the moment (including the computer screen or whatever it is I'm typing.)
And that is still a new experience for me and one that I'm learnin to like.
:)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

the forest and the trees

One of my summer projects was to start tackling the mound of albums/pictures that have piled up on a desk over the last few fourteen years. Since confession is supposed to be good for the soul, I can now tell you: it didn't happen.
I did start the last week of July. That's a good thing, right? But then came August, which I had determined was going to be my month for NaNoWriMo, so nothing happened last month, either.
And since September first, life has been a little bit busy. Busier than I dreamed it would be, in fact.
So today, my first morning "off" this month, I ventured into the room and started. Of course, I got sidetracked in the process, but I now have one big envelope of negatives, a small pile of discarded pictures, as well several smaller piles of pictures for when I do get around to stashing them.
Meanwhile, my album is currently in the year 2004, though I now have pictures from 1999-2003 that need to be inserted here and there. Organization used to be my friend.
Actually, I am still somewhat organized. I hop from project to project in the most grandiose way possible. Sometimes I even actually complete things.Which leads me back to scrapbooking.
These last 14 years have absolutely flown by. It seems like yesterday I moved to NC, and yet as I look back on the blur of these years, I am absolutely AMAZED at how many things we've done, how many places we've been, how many memories we've made. 2004 was a year of heartbreak for us in so many ways, and yet you'd never know it to look at all the pictures from that year. So whether I'm looking at the forest or the trees, it's still impressive how life and memories weld together to make such an impressive picture.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

repetition

Repetition is the key to memorization.
My fifth grade teacher used to say that. A LOT.
Typed out that way, it sounds bland.
It needs her voice inflection and the cadence to which she repeated it.
I feel like I need to type it in font that has swirly letters, even though she wasn't a prissy person.

Rep-e-TI-tion is the KEY to MEM-ori-ZA-tion.

And I've come to the conlusion the last few weeks that while reading/hearing/studying something over and over and over might help me remember it, putting that principle into practice is the only thing that will actually make it a part of my life.

I can think and read about a healthy lifestyle, but if I don't actually do it, it doesn't help me any.
I can think and read about loving others, but when the time comes if I put myself and my needs first, then I'm still not demonstrating the love of Christ.
I can think and read about many good and wonderful things. I can repeat and memorize, but that rote memory stuff is only good for paper tests, not life ones.

But I like to think if I slowly and gradually keep doing the right thing over and over and over, conquering my thoughts and feelings each time and offering them up for renewal, then it'll become easier each time to respond correctly out of habit instead of a full-fledged battle to do the right thing just because its the right thing.

And with that, my Tuesday but it feels like Monday morning, is off.