Saturday, January 31, 2015

flood gates

The pond dam behind our house has a small flat area in one "corner" called a spillway. I've only seen water flow over it a a few times since we've lived here - during hurricanes or extended heavy rain times, and once when a dead turtle got stuck on top of the drain pipe and we had a day of rain.

But about a month ago, something got stuck inside the pipe (the country in me wants to write "down inside" but Bobby always gripes when I stick the extra preposition "down" in front of another preposition), and the water level has been quite high and has been going over the spillway at a regular rate since then. Since the workers have cleared a path for the sewer line near the spillway, I was able to walk through part of it and see exactly where it returns to the stream (as opposed to where the pipe empties water on the other side of the dam).

The pond easing over the spillway. It's usually at least a foot lower.

and the stream heading to the woods
 (last week during the heavy rains this entire grassy spot was covered)
and the water easing through the debris that's been cut and mulched for the sewer lines
where it begins to reunite with the stream. I was amazed at how deep this culvert is - at least 7 ft down.
and the water has fallen hard enough that it's created a tiny pond back behind all this mud
a water trail from last week when we had 2 days of rain
standing behind the culvert.
If you look hard through the trees on the left, you can see our house up the hill.
I have pictures somewhere of how high the pond is, but I'll have to find those at a later date. But for those who've been here, it has stayed even with the bottom of the floor boards on the pier the last few weeks (except for 2 rainy days when it rose to the top of the floor boards).

Friday, January 30, 2015

South Garner High School update

2/3 of the water pipes along Clifford Rd are now installed. The last two days they've been placing some metal thing (that's about the size of a vehicle) into the ground near my sister-in-law's house. The path for the sewer line connection from a nearby subdivision (through my Mom-in-law's farm) has been cleared, and below are pictures of the actual site itself:

2nd wing of the main building has now been added.

A closer view. Not exactly sure what they're doing now, but they're working day and nights.

and the 2nd building, which is nearby the one above


So far nothing has been done for the parking lots, football field, or other areas, but they are working as weather permits (and sometimes even in the rain).


Thursday, January 29, 2015

one of my favorites

Life with any long term illness or disability means many visits to the doctor. It's just  a part of life. One of my favorite things to do is check out the artwork at each place. Bobby and I see different general physicians in the same practice. I know my dr. is a believer. He has quite a few Christian magazines as reading options in his office, as well as some Christian artwork on the walls. In the course of conversation, we've talked about mission trips, adoption (that came up when we got our physicals for our home study) and he leads a Bible study at his church. Today while seeing Bobby's dr, I noticed he has one of the same pieces of artwork (and the other is one he painted himself).



The glare doesn't make it the easiest to read, but it says "Behold, I make all things new!" - a verb change from Revelations 21:5, but I love both the concept and the artwork. Truth on so many levels.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

tragedy

Last night my Facebook feeds were filling up with posts and newslinks from home, as there was another gas explosion.  I should say "gas explosion" and not "another" as the last one was almost 25 years ago when I was in high school. But I've not forgotten it. I still remember the blast, how our house shook, how we thought it was a train that derailed and crashed, and then the fear and concern as we heard sirens coming near our house, stepped out side, and saw the flames reaching up above the tree tops. An older couple died, one immediately, one later.  To this day gas makes me a little nervous.

As the night wore on and more details became now, I heard that three workers from Cordova's utility company were injured. Found out this morning one of them was a classmate from high school. The hospital kept him overnight for observation. The last time I saw him was at our one and only reunion a few years ago, and he was sharing his fears from the day the two tornadoes hit our small town.  As I look at the photo below, from www.abc3340.com, I'm reminded that none of us are promised tomorrow, or even the next minute.
Cordova Gas Explosion

Praying for my hometown today - for those who had not heat for a while due to gas cutoffs, for those living nearby whose homes were damaged, for the grieving families, for the injured workers, and the firemen who worked the scene. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

perspective

Two things I have always enjoyed doing are going to Estate sales and sorting through pictures. But lately both of those things are becoming not quite so fun.

About 20 years ago, a friend of mine didn't have a camera, and I asked her about it. (I was always taking pictures of everything and everyone.) She told me that her parents held an antique store and often were invited to sort through homes after people had died and the remaining relatives had taken all they wanted. Pictures were one of the things that often got left behind. She said you wouldn't believe the number of photos that got thrown away. I've tried to be a little more selective in what I take and what I actually print (printing and digital photographs...that's a whole separate blog post!) since that conversation, but I still take a LOT of pictures.

During Mom's surgery and over Thanksgiving, we tackled the boxes of photos Mom has, trying to sort them into ziplock bags by years. In four days of work, sometimes with three people working, we only emptied/organized three boxes. My sister and I tossed quite a few (when Mom wasn't looking). And now I'm trying to place some of the ones I had sorted years ago into albums. I've made a lot of progress, but there's still a lot to do.

And estate sales...lately I'm finding the same thoughts running through my mind at estate sales as when I sort through pictures - this will be my stuff some day. I like to think that before I die I can downsize and sort through and give away or sell most of what I have, but the reality is that may not happen. And since we don't have children, there's not likely to be anyone who would really want what I have. I can hear my nephew now. She STILL has that television?! It's a 100 years old!!! Take that to the dump! Although there is one advantage to having a television that is over 30 years old (and still working fine)...thieves don't want it! :)

I know some of these thoughts came about when I helped a friend and then my sister move last year. It really made me think about how much stuff I have and what will be done with it when I'm gone. And that's not a bad thing. I've done a lot of cleaning and organizing since that time, and plan to do a lot more before the year is out. And I'm slowly tackling projects that I had put aside for "the future".  That time is here, and it is quickly marching past.

Monday, January 26, 2015

paperwork, heartache and headache

My cousin Rachel, in her early 30s and mother to two, is fighting with insurance...to have her reconstruction surgery. No one at that age who has lost her mother and grandmother to breast cancer, has faced a stage 3 diagnosis, has endured a double mastectomy, chemo, radiation, and is now dealing with the side effects from those treatments, should have to fight and refile paperwork just to have her ports removed and breasts reconstructed. Friday she found out that the insurance was denying the procedure for the 2nd time in five months. The first time they said her "application" was never turned in; the second time they said the paperwork proving her radiation treatments were over was not submitted. My heart hurts for her. Incompetence on anyone's part is not something you need to contend with while you are recovering from a cancer ordeal.

Sometimes I wonder what would happen to our country if doctors refused to deal with insurance companies at all, and you paid a set fee for medical services, just like you would when visiting a grocery store or department store. My cousin who works on hospital equipment (he's a mechanic for MRI and other such machines) says the technology is so far advanced that no one would ever be able to pay for it. He's probably right, but I can't help but think there has to be a better way than what we are doing now.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

brief update

Well, since my last post on body piercings, we went to Krispy Kreme Saturday evening to get a hot doughnut (something we've never done before). As soon as we made it through the door (the line was long), I was face to face with another customer who had the "all over" piercing...except this girl had one I had never seen before.  She had about 5 holes in each ear, the eyebrow, the upper lip, the lower lip, the tongue...and a fingernail size stud above the nose on each side of the beginning of her eyebrows. It's one of those scenarios where you don't want to look but you have a hard time not looking. I wanted so badly to pull out my camera and snap her picture and post it (it was almost too incredible to see), but I knew that would be rude and I wouldn't want someone doing that of me. Can't you just imagine that post?  I saw the craziest girl today. Her hair had NO color in it AT all and NO tattoos or facial piercings. Is she a total prude or what? Except I don't think the language would be that drab.

In case you haven't seen what I've been talking about, this website shows both the eyebrow piercing (you'll have to scroll down), as well as the ear disks, plus many other things. A few will make you squirm.

When I first read the Hunger Games trilogy, I remember laughing a little at Katniss' description of the people in the capital and how they dressed. No one could be that bizarre, I thought. Now I'm starting to understand.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

thoughts upon thoughts

Over Christmas we had one of our "normal" crazy conversations with a set of nieces and nephews. Within the last few years they've started throwing out what they call "random topics" for us to discuss (though I'm finding they're a lot less random than they want us to believe). This year one of their topics was facial piercings (to which they clarified eyebrow, cheek, lip, tongues, excessive ear piercing...the "all over" look I think they called it). I think they expected Bobby's "yuck",  but my response sent them into a fit of giggles and shock. There's nothing wrong with it, the Bible doesn't condemn it, but it makes me want to throw up. If I go into a restaurant and waiter/waitress has it, I lose my appetite. I would seriously consider leaving. Even if I don't, I wouldn't go back there again. (I think it was the last sentence that made their jaws hit the floor.) My niece, who is all about peace and love and harmony (whose mouth was still on the table) asked "You mean, if I came home, the niece you loved so much, with my face all decorated like that, you wouldn't love me anymore?" Bobby told her she better NOT come home like that, but then said he'd still love her. I told her I'd love her but I would have a hard time looking at her and certainly wouldn't find her pretty any more. And then jokingly told her we'd take her to the doctor for a mental evaluation.

I do find such degradations of the body repulsive. My stomach literally heaves when I see a person (or a clerk) in a store who has the circular holes punched into their ears. It reminds me of the remotest tribal areas of Thailand and Africa. I find it as revolting as female circumcision.

So why am I bringing this up?  Because last night when we got home we had a discussion on an issue that a friend finds morally wrong. While the activity is not something either one of us do, our reasons are personal. We simply do not see this as a moral issue. My first thought was to totally dismiss the person's concerns as trite and critical. But my niece would probably say the same thing about my revulsion to certain facial piercings. In her 14 year old mind, it is almost normal. In my 42 year old mind, it's downright insane. But it's really not a doctrinal matter. It is a matter that impacts your day-to-day life and how you and others perceive you, but I would be very hesitant to call piercings an issue of morality, even if they do impact the body/temple and repulse me.  I fear that sometimes we get so caught up in being "right" (which is actually the sin of pride) that we forget others who share our core doctrinal beliefs can practice something that we personally find repulsive and still not be wrong.




Friday, January 16, 2015

job bank ideas

In my mind, I've always (okay, the last ten years or so) thought about owning/running a quilt shop. Whenever I see an empty building in our area, I mentally think about how that spot would/would not work as a space. And whenever I enter a new quilt shop, the back of my mind is storing ideas or rejecting layouts. The reality is, this will always be a dream. One of those things I think about, but will most likely never do.

In the last two weeks an airline called Frontline has made news in the SCI world, and not in a positive way. They were fined $50,000 for refusing to allow a passenger to fly because he was a quadriplegic and couldn't hold himself upright in the seat without extended seatbelts (which he had made the staff aware of when the bought the ticket and had even brought his own belt extensions) and then a second man was boarded after the plane was full (wheelchair users are always first on, last off because staff needs the extra room to transfer them in out of the boarding chair and into the passenger seat), so the staff did not have room to maneuver as much as they usually do and they dropped the passenger during the transfer (someone didn't remember to put the armrest on the plane chair up and out of the way). Thankfully he wasn't hurt (other than bruising), but he did complain, as well he should have, and requested that attendants be re-trained (or trained, period) in how to handle wheelchair bound passengers. So here's my new idea deposited in my mental job bank: an airline that's main customers are wheelchair users and their families and friends. Airplanes will have every other three rows (one row of seats, then the next three rows removed) and will have runners in the floor where electric chairs or scooters can be "locked" down into the floor, just like a passenger van for wheelchair users. Since wheelchairs are heavy, there will be less passengers on each flight, and flights would be limited to the number you could have a day (due to the amount of time boarding and deplaning). There will also be a luggage/storage space in the back for walkers, canes, and larger-sized carry-on bags since many wheelchair users need medical supplies throughout the day. Restrooms on-board will be wheelchair accessible. Granted, you wouldn't be able to fly to as many places, but I think if you had international flights going out three times a week and to main cities in America daily, I think they'd easily fill up. Manual wheelchairs would still have to transfer into regular seats,(for safety purposes) but their chairs could be stored in the top of the plane storage area and not underneath. The profits probably wouldn't be anywhere near what regular airlines make, but with 1 million SCIers in America alone (and that doesn't count other disabilities, that's just spinal cord injuries), and knowing how bad of a rep the airline industry has among this group, I bet people would flock to it.

Just another thing to think about while cooking supper. :)

Thursday, January 15, 2015

reality

Someone on Facebook posted an article last week. Basically, a Swiss company has developed a fake spinal cord that could potentially enable paralyzed people to walk. It doesn't replace the spinal cord or repair the damaged parts, so no feelings or sensations, prevention of muscle spasms or elimination of AHD, but it would send messages from the brain to the muscles, enabling a person to walk without the use of the heavy exoskeleton (and I'm hoping without the exoskeleton's astronomical cost). It's not been field-tested on humans yet, only mice. So realistically, even if it passes further studies and makes it into human trial, by the time it is finished and passes FDA standards, provided they approve it, it would still take time for doctors and insurance companies in the US to be willing to try it out. We're talking 5-10 years down the road, at the earliest.

I'm excited. For 35 years, the medical community has been saying "cures are around the corner".  And while this would not be a cure, it would be a tremendous step in improvement...a total game-changer for the SCI community.

But for us, it's too late. The body is meant to be used. When it's not, things begin to go wrong and break down.  We're past that point. I think sometimes people look at Bobby and think because he looks healthy, and he is, for an SCIer, that any potential cure would apply to him and radically change his life. Were this "cure" to come along 25 years ago, there would be that possibility. But not now. Muscles atrophy; bones throw away their density if they don't bear the weight they're designed to carry. Despite the daily range of motion exercises, after 35 years of not walking or moving, his body would not be able to support itself even if the brain could suddenly convey messages. And if the muscles can manage to send a message back, we'd be in even more trouble with the amount of pain he would suddenly encounter.

I know that when this moves to human trials it will hit the mainstream media, and people will get all hyped about it. We'll get e-mails and Facebook messages and comments from friends and family all excited that Bobby will finally get to walk again. And I try to smile. I've heard it all before, though nowhere to the degree that he has. I'm thankful we have friends who care enough to share even the faintest glimmer of hope, but there are days when it seems more like hot air being pressed over an over-heated engine.

But for the young guns in the SCI community, I hope this corner rounds very quickly.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

some good news for a change :)

My friend and former co-worker, Amanda, is now back home in Ethiopia after being medically evacuated to Kenya last week. She's still got a long way to go and still needs prayers, but it's just good news to hear that her family is once again united and she's slowly getting better. Due to the ongoing adoption process, they feel it's best at this time for her not to return to the States, though they're still considering that as an option for a few weeks so she can seek her doctor here and get some much needed rest (though the plane trip here and there wouldn't be very restful).

And...Mom's visit yesterday to the pulmonary doctor resulted in some good news (by my standards, at least). He confirmed that neither her heart nor lungs are damaged; only the artery between the two is not working properly. Thankfully, this can be treated with medication. So she has to go through a lot of tests and paperwork this next month so the insurance will pay the exorbitant price of said meds. Bear in mind that my mother hates medicine of any kind, often has allergic reactions to meds, already has to take a lot of medication, and you can see why she's not thrilled with all of this. She has a very bad habit of taking herself off her meds when she decides it's not helping or she's taking too much, so I have this creepy feeling that we're (mainly Dad here) are in for some battles on this one.

And the Beatty family now has the extra money they needed for Emma's surgery! :) Still praying for the pain issues, but just thankful the financial hurdle is gone. You can find Emma's story here.  It seems like yesterday after her muscle surgery we turned around at a kids' activity here and she was walking the boards downhill in the obstacle course...in an upper body cast. One of the few times I think my heart has actually stopped beating.

So while I'm still praying for the many hurting and on-going struggles, it's nice and refreshing to hear some positive updates. The light at the end of the tunnel might not be a train after all.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

poetry

I knew in college that I was learning a lot of things, but I think I'm still discovering even now just how greatly my college experience shaped who I am today.

One of the authors I was exposed to in college was James Weldon Johnson, particularly his book of poems called God's Trombones, based on African-American sermons. One of the drama students in college performed several of his pieces during chapel, and I've never forgotten those presentations. I checked the book out from the library this weekend and read several of the poems/sermons to Bobby this afternoon.

Johnson took liberties in his poetry, which many black preachers tend to do, but he captured the cadence of the sermon extremely well. I can hear the rhythm and deep, bass voice in my head every time I read one. While "Creation" is probably the most well-known of the seven sermons, it's actually not one of my top two favorites. As morbid as it sounds, one of them is "Go Down Death". I've heard it read at many funerals, though I never realized it was a Johnson poem until I checked out his book. I found it somewhat fitting and comforting that a book I checked out for the poem "The Judgement" also included a piece about grieving and hope. Over Christmas a college classmate lost her husband.  And Welch college alumni (formerly Free Will Baptist Bible College) are still reeling with the death of 32 year old Bethany Atwood Lytle last week, missionary to Peru, wife, and mother of 3 very small children. I find assurance in the reminder that God has allotted all of our days, and he knows when the time is up, even if it takes us by surprise. I still ache for those families and her close friends. I doubt they'll ever know how many people have taken them before the throne of grace this last week, and will continue to do so in the year ahead. It won't make their grief go away, but I pray it will at least be a little more bearable.

And in case you've never read anything by Johnson, here's one of my two favorites:


Go Down Death
James Weldon Johnson 








Weep not, weep not, She is not dead; 
She’s resting in the bosom of Jesus. 
Heart-broken husband—weep no more; 
Grief-stricken son—weep no more; 
Left-lonesome daughter—weep no more; 
She’s only just gone home. 
Day before yesterday morning, 
God was looking down from his great, high heaven, 
Looking down on all his children, 
And his eye fell on Sister Caroline, 
Tossing on her bed of pain. 
And God’s big heart was touched with pity, 
With the everlasting pity. 
And God sat back on his throne, 
And he commanded that tall, bright angel standing at his right hand: 
Call me Death! 
And that tall, bright angel cried in a voice 
That broke like a clap of thunder: 
Call Death!—Call Death! 
And the echo sounded down the streets of heaven 
Till it reached away back to that shadowy place, 
Where Death waits with his pale, white horses. 
And Death heard the summons, 
And he leaped on his fastest horse, 
Pale as a sheet in the moonlight. 
Up the golden street Death galloped, 
And the hoofs of his horse struck fire from the gold, 
But they didn’t make no sound. 
Up Death rode to the Great White Throne, 
And waited for God’s command. 
And God said: Go down, Death, go down, 
Go down to Savannah, Georgia, 
Down in Yamacraw, 
And find Sister Caroline. 
She’s borne the burden and heat of the day, 
She’s labored long in my vineyard, 
And she’s tired— 
She’s weary— 
 Go down, Death, and bring her to me. 
And Death didn’t say a word, 
But he loosed the reins on his pale, white horse, 
And he clamped the spurs to his bloodless sides, 
And out and down he rode, 
Through heaven’s pearly gates, 
Past suns and moons and stars; 
On Death rode, 
And the foam from his horse was like a comet in the sky; 
On Death rode, 
Leaving the lightning’s flash behind; 
Straight on down he came. 
While we were watching round her bed, 
She turned her eyes and looked away, 
She saw what we couldn’t see; 
She saw Old Death. She saw Old Death 
Coming like a falling star. 
But Death didn’t frighten Sister Caroline; 
He looked to her like a welcome friend. 
And she whispered to us: I’m going home, 
And she smiled and closed her eyes. 
And Death took her up like a baby, 
And she lay in his icy arms, 
But she didn’t feel no chill. 
And Death began to ride again— 
Up beyond the evening star, 
Out beyond the morning star,
Into the glittering light of glory, 
On to the Great White Throne. 
And there he laid Sister Caroline 
On the loving breast of Jesus. 
And Jesus took his own hand and wiped away her tears, 
And he smoothed the furrows from her face, 
And the angels sang a little song, 
And Jesus rocked her in his arms, 
And kept a-saying: Take your rest, 
Take your rest, take your rest. 
Weep not—weep not, 
She is not dead; 
She’s resting in the bosom of Jesus.

Monday, January 12, 2015

beauty pageants

I grew up in an area where beauty pageants were the norm. Almost every year, in elementary school, I would be one of the few girls in my class who did not enter. If I remember correctly, the pageant was actually a fundraiser by the PTA. I attended a Christian school during middle school, so that eliminated any thought of such things other than seeing pictures of winners from numerous pageants in the paper and copies passed around at family reunions if a person "placed". In high school, only a handful of girls did the pageant circuit, though many girls would do it "at least once", as part of their high school experience.

I've thought about some of those memories a lot the past few weeks. My youngest niece has decided to join the insanity. Her friends talked her into it five years ago, as she was the only person in first grade who did not compete. So in second grade, she participated, absolutely hated it, and refused for third grade, which was totally fine with her Mom. But fourth grade brought the pressure back on, along with an upscale in the type of dress needed. My sis put out her limit on what could be spent. They couldn't find a dress in time, so that was the end of that. This year, my niece was determined that she'd have a dress, whether it was exactly what she wanted or not. She made a point to inform my brother that he would have to come see her again. My brother informed my mother that his wife could attend, but he had already done that once and would not sit through such a waste of time and money again. My niece plans to send him a personal invitation. I'm thinking she's not going to get her way on this one. And were I living in AL, I would be right there with him.

Beauty pageants are not an absolutely terrible thing. I think parents, like my sister, can say, "Here's my budget for this activity and no more." But what really bothers me is seeing posts on Facebook from friends and relatives back home saying "This dress has only been worn in one pageant. It's retail price is $700, and my friend is asking $350."

$350...that would buy textbooks for two semesters of college. That's a car payment. That's half a payment on a pair of eyeglasses. That would replace the seat of a shower wheelchair. And while I know my sister does not even pay 1/3 of that asking price, I still can't help but think of how much that would be in a college tuition fund in another 7 years.  I agree with my brother. It's such a waste. And as a Christian, while I don't think beauty pageants are sin or evil, I'm not exactly sure what the point in emphasizing outward beauty is. You're paying to enter your child in a competition, paying for her to wear a non-practical/only worn a few times dress, for judges to decide whether or not she's the "prettiest one of all".  It makes me a little sick.

And if all my AL/MS friends are reading this, yes, I am a Christian with some feminist views. I simply don't see how a beauty pageant enhances a girl's life in any positive way. I know others disagree, and that's okay.

It's probably good I don't have a daughter. I think this would be one of many events where my mother would come out of my mouth, "No, not everyone is doing this, because you're not doing this; so therefore EVERYONE can't be doing it."

And as I re-read this before posting, I understand why my husband laughs sometimes and asks how I ever survived growing up in Alabama.


Saturday, January 10, 2015

merry-go-round

I've typed four posts since Thursday. I've deleted all four of those posts, intentionally.

To prevent being a bad news bear or an outlet of negativity, I'm not going into details in these situations, but please pray for these families:

1) The Wilkinsons
2) Charae
3) The Potts
4) The Wyatts
5) The Lewis family
6) Lytle/Atwood families
7) the Beatty family

A funny from today...For Bobby's 60th birthday, 1/2 of his family met at Toot-n-Tell for breakfast. For the 6 great nieces and nephews who could be there (ages 1-6), I had helium balloons on the table that they could take home after we ate. The kids were thrilled; the parents just gave us that look. My sister-in-law stayed behind and told us that many years ago the oldest one got a balloon at a restaurant, and she suggested in the parking lot they they let it go and give it to Jesus. So they did. A few years later, leaving the same restaurant, she overheard the oldest tell her younger sister "Whatever you do, don't give your balloon to Jesus. He doesn't give it back."  We have laughed at that all day long.

I am thankful that while Jesus doesn't return helium-filled balloons, he does hear the groanings of our heart.


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

bite size

How do you eat an elephant?
One bite at a time. 


I've been reminding myself of that old saying this week as I slowly tackle cleaning house.

And housework with a wheelchair involved is very similar to the way a cow eats...you're constantly cleaning the same thing over and over and over. We met someone once who had an indoor and an outdoor wheelchair. Bobby was aghast. Not only is the cost of that prohibitive, but the thought of having to be transferred into a different chair every time you want to leave the house or come back inside is horrid. Just the thought of a minimum of four extra transfers a day makes my shoulders hurt.

But I am determined that this year I can somewhat return to everything having a place and everything being somewhat organized (though the kitchen table is already mocking me on that one). I am so not there, but hopefully, by this summer, I will be. One bite at a time.


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

just bizarre

A few days ago we started receiving junk e-mail...from ourselves. Yes, our own personal e-mail account was sending us spam. I ran our anti-virus software and double checked to make sure all the updates and been installed (they had) and nothing showed. The next morning, same thing. So I went to the e-mail help section, found out many people have this problem, downloaded the company software to check for malware, which took all day to run, found nothing...same thing.

So this morning I go to google, found a forum in our e-mail's software where a university professor shared some info, as well as many links to four different types of virus checks his university (Stanford) offered to students. They also had a 30 day trial version that people can run just to check and see what is on the computer. It found two pieces of malware. It quarantined them instead of removing them. So now I'm wondering what will happen when the trial version ends. Does the quarantine end as well?

Equally bizarre, though in a totally different vein, is ancestry.com.  A few years ago Bobby and I did a DNA test. He knew/knows his family history back almost 200 years, and everything he'd been told and researched held to be true. No surprises. Me, on the other hand, was a very different story. Unlike him, my family knew very little about our maternal line (my grandfather said there was no point in learning about skeletons in the hospital and would never answer any questions at all, other than he royally disliked his step-mom). My Dad's side of the family knew their history back to a certain point, and supposedly my great-grandmother was full blooded Creek and her my great-grandfather was half Cherokee. According to my DNA tests, that is not the case. At all.  So I tested my parents. Nada.

An online search suggested you download your raw data from ancestry and submit it to gedmatch.com for a more detailed breakdown of what each gene sample revealed. That revealed small traces of AmericanIndian, but not much. Certainly not a 1/16th (for me) or 1/8 (my Dad) that we had always been told.

So I'm researching, trying to find out as much as I can about the family line. I've found a lot that makes me laugh, some that makes me sigh, some that makes my husband exclaim "You scallowag!" I'd like to learn all I can before my subscription to ancestry.com ends. I've spent enough time the last few weeks to get thoroughly confused (do you know how many Ellen Smiths lived in Alabama in the 1880s?). Hopefully the rest of this week I can get all my notes organized and by next week be back on track and focused on one branch at a time.

Until then, I'm hoping there will not be anymore e-mails from myself.

Friday, January 2, 2015

the Rockingham County Museum

One of my sister-in-laws lives in Rockingham County, NC.  During December we had the chance to drive up and spend half a day with her. After lunch, she took us to the nearby town of Wentworth to see the new county museum. And I must say, I was a bit impressed.

I don't remember what building these concrete slabs came from, but they made an incredibly awesome table and chairs. Can't you picture little kids on a field trip eating their lunches here before/after a trip to the museum?

While I did enjoy the few quilts they had out on display, one of my two favorite exhibits from the museum was a photography exhibit from a local person who had worked for the Smithsonian. They were incredible.
The second favorite thing was the building itself - an old courthouse. I was amazed at the doors and the archway, the old tile floors, the safes (some of the exhibits were actually housed in the safes, which are huge and which I found both interesting and a bit unnerving if I thought about too much). They had a small cramped room on tobacco history, pre-civil war days - dealing with slavery and occupations, a civil rights room, and a room that held antique furniture, as well as an exhibit of items from the Chinqua-Penn plantation (which I hate we never made it to see before they closed last year in bankruptcy). 

It was a "field trip" worth taking.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

super spicy

I've been trying to tackle one small thing (housework wise) each day the last week. It's not a planned thing, but something I've just been trying to do to keep the house semi-clean.

And last night, while waiting for supper to finish cooking, I started this one project (because it was there, in front of me, daring me) and finished it this morning. Normally Bobby is not happy when I throw things away, but today when I showed him the labels, he actually laughed.

Most of these are Kroger brand.  The year before we got married, I lived across the street from Garner High School (which connects to the Kroger shopping center). But I've not shopped there since 2000.  That tells you how old these spices are.

And somewhat in my defense...I used to cook a lot of things from scratch. Bobby's parents had a huge garden every summer, as well as beef cows, so I learned to make spaghetti and chili without the seasoning packets. And then we had to cut back/out the tomato products Bobby could have for a few years, so I quit making those dishes. Hence, chili powder, garlic powder, oregano, ginger...those spices quit being used. And the nutmeg...I'm not sure how or why I wound up with that.

Some people laugh at me, but I have a policy that if a recipe has more than two ingredients I've never heard of/don't use, then I won't try it. It does sound a little absurd, but there's nothing I hate more than to buy something, like spices, and then not like it but have quite a bit of it.

Not every cleaning project is this drastic.  But this one still has me shaking my head.