Monday, September 21, 2015

take a breath... a deep one....

Just got home from teaching my last training class for the upcoming election. It seems that half the classes will have at least one person that is either a) in disagreement with at least one policy and is excessively vocal about it, b) wants to throw out incredulous scenarios that have less than .001% chance of happening, or c) thinks they know everything so therefore don't need training but yet, are getting 50% of the exercises wrong.

Today was a great class until the very end when we encountered scenario "a".  Don't like a policy? I understand that. But we're not going to like everything that happens on election day either, but rules are rules. Ranting about how the board of elections should be changed, blah, blah, blah is not appropriate. If you want to change a rule, go through the process and get it changed. But to bad mouth your boss and hope to have him fired is not a good mindset nor a good appearance to project to your coworkers and the public. I'm still a bit riled up inside, and I've now been at home for almost half an hour.

This is one of the things that makes me appreciate the Board of Elections staff more and more. I only deal with this a few times a year. They deal with this day in and day out. It's their job. And yet, they are always kind, always helpful. Granted, they have their moments, too, but overall they are extremely helpful and considerate. I would like to think that if I had their job, I would behave in the same manner. But in all honesty, I'm not so sure. Kindness and long-suffering toward others are certainly areas where my character needs to grow. This sounds ugly, but I'm thankful that person is not in one of the precincts I have to supervise in the next two months.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015


Every week, I'll have one day where as I'm in the middle of something (like making jelly, cleaning the bathroom, etc) and I'll  have several "that'll make an awesome blog post" moments. But since I'm in the middle of something, I don't write them down. When I finally do sit down at the computer and open up my blank page, I can't exactly remember what it was.  Yeah. That old age thing.

So here's a few topics that I've thought about the last few weeks, but don't want to write about.

Immigration - a college friend's Mom is going for yet another interview in an attempt to get an American visa. She's only been waiting for 20+ years.

Organ donation - my cousin's husband and a former co-worker, both my age, are now on kidney dialysis and both are on the transplant list. Makes me miss Mary all the more.

The View and Nursing - never watched the show and have no desire to do so. Not surprised or upset they dissed nursing. Shock and disturb...isn't that the whole point of talk television and radio?

The Refugee Crisis - absolutely horrified by the attitudes of many Americans

The Presidential Election - it's not even 2016 yet!!!

Adoption - the ups, the downs, the heartaches, the misinformation, the good, the bad, the cost, the process

And my non-serious matters or things I feel I can rationally write about? You'll get those topics in the coming days. :)

Tuesday, September 15, 2015


Last week my oldest niece helped plan an college activity. They did a 1980's throwback party. Seriously. So while I'm digesting the fact that college kids today see my tween and teenage years as historic, a friend from high school posted this on Facebook (and I've edited to cover their names):

Conversation on the way to school this morning as we passed the Bankhead House.
Child - "mom, did you see that house right there, the big one?"
 Parent - "I do"
Child - " It has clothes in it from the 80's!"
Parent - "the 80's"
Child - "Yes! And from a battle!"

I guess the 80's for her would be like the 50's for me growing up. 
Talk about starting the morning off feeling old! 

So if I had any doubts about the matter, I am officially old and historic!  And to make matters crazier, I'm wondering if items from "a battle" would be items from WWII, Vietnam, or the first Gulf War, which my generation fought in. Kind of crazy to realize such a defining time in my life is not the "latest" war.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

the plate method

People always talk about eating healthy. I find that I will do okay with eating healthy for a few weeks, maybe a month, and then I'm done. It's not always a conscious "enough of this", but more of a "I just want one meal/one day/one weekend off." And once off that wagon, I never totally get back on.  Last month I was looking at various websites and trying to get some comprehensive understanding of the different views of "healthy eating" (and believe me, there are a LOT of VERY different ideas out there), when I found this on the American Diabetic Association's website:

This was the simplest method for managing sugar levels I have ever seen. They have a video to go along with it, as well as a print-out for foods that fit into the vegetable category (which includes many fruits), and foods that fit into the starch category (many southern peas, slaws, etc).

So we've been doing this for almost a month now. The craziness of the last week and a half has meant we've eaten out more than we planned, but we are both still trying to be cautious. Okay, my better half is being cautious. I'm at least considering what I order and it's health ratio before I order something now. :)

But I like this method because of it's simplicity. I can cook what I have on hand (yes, our hobby farming and purchasing means we don't buy a whole lot at the grocery store) and still know that we're being "healthy".  I've found I'm filling up faster, and I'm not as hungry between meals. My Dad's dr had suggested to him protein snacks between meals or when hungry, such as a quarter-size portion of peanuts or one half of a graham cracker with peanut butter on it.

So the biggest issues I have with dietary changes have so far been eliminated. Now if I can keep focused and make time to keep this up the next two months, then hopefully the next round of lab work will be much better. And who knows? Maybe by that time it will be a well-grounded habit for me.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

brick walls

The last few years, I've been using some of my sporadic free time to research family history. And in some areas, I'm stuck. I have quite a few records from aunts and uncles that I've been entering into Sometimes their records match census records; sometimes they don't. One of the craziest things I've encountered with one side of the family is that the family names, births, marriages, and deaths recorded in the family Bible have no link to anyone in our family tree that I can find. It's driving me crazy. I have a small family tree mapped out, but no clue as to how it relates to my family.  Or I have names and dates, but they don't match anything in the census record. Or you simply can't find anyone at all. It's quite frustrating. Before the internet searches became so huge, a library in Raleigh offered classes once or twice a year on how to start researching your family, but I've not seen that advertised in a very long time.

And the reality is, while I'm very curious and would love to prove/disprove a few family legends, the reality is, it doesn't change anything at all. Regardless of who my ancestors were or where they are (or are not) from, I still have to clean house and fulfill obligations, show up to appointments. Life does not stop just because of what happened in the past, and the reality of what Jesus changed in my life does not evaporate because I do/do not have a certain heritage.

So I'll keep searching and pouring over beautiful but hard to read handwriting in search of certain names and dates. Hopefully I won't aggravate any more family members in the process with some of my discoveries (or lack thereof). And maybe when it's all over, I won't feel so much like the people who sit back in shock upon learning history is not quite what they anticipated.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

mental photographs

For years I took lots of pictures. Many of them are still waiting to be sorted into albums. I still take a lot of pictures, but now they're stored on the computer. At first I thought that was horrible, but I actually see many of those more than I do the printed forms. They're much easier to find, and it doesn't involve dragging out or putting up boxes when I need to look for one.

As I age, I'm finding I have many mental photographs that were never taken that are forever burned into memory. As we came home from a friend's memorial service today, I've thought about that quite a bit. There are many mental images that come to mind when I think of Steve Anderson, but I don't have an actual photograph for any of them.

One is a Sunday morning scene. Steve would sometimes dress up, but he usually wore khakis or blue jeans with a dress shirt and sport coat on Sunday mornings. He taught the 1st-3rd graders, and he'd be on one knee, chatting with the kids. And they loved it. My favorite memory of that oft repeated scene was when he'd chat with the Wells twins (two identical boys). Their faces would light up as he was almost always able to distinguish which was which. I never figured out how he could, but being the father of identical twins himself, he knew how important it was to the boys that they be recognized for themselves and not as a set.

Another is moving days. Despite the fact that his back and knee often hurt him, I can't think of a time we needed to move someone in the church and he wasn't there with at least one of his boys, helping. He was not afraid to sweat, and didn't mind in the least if his children did either.

My other mental images don't necessarily bring a smile to my face, but bring physical hurt. There were times he'd talk to my husband when he was discouraged or concerned about a member of his family. I love the fact that he loved and cared about his family so much, but it also makes me hurt because I know their biggest prayer warrior, emotional cheerleader, and supporter is now gone. He left some mighty big shoes for our church to fill.

And last, but certainly not least, would be his smile while he was talking about his boys. I remember one time in particular that one of his boys in their younger years (and no, I won't say which one of the 7), acquired a credit card from the house and figured out how to bid on e-bay using a parent's account. He was early elementary school at the time. His parents were quite startled to receive the e-mail that they had won the bid for the old coin, and he was quite excited when questioned about it. Steve was both horrified that a child that young had figured out how to make it all work, but also quite pleased that a child that young had figured out AND done his homework on the worth of the coin. (He was also very grateful the kid's top bid didn't go over $5.) They did change their passwords and discuss internet purchases and credit cards with him, but you could see the shock and pride in his eyes as he discussed it. And that mental image of his eyes haunts me. I so badly want the boys to see that again as they grow up, get married, graduate from high school, and live their lives. I know that God is sovereign and He will be faithful to provide for them, but that look of love and pride in the eyes is something that cannot be replaced.

I know the days and weeks and months ahead will be challenging as they experience new normals, some of them harder to deal with than others. But I'm so thankful they have memories of jokes and laughter and fun times with their Dad to give them something to smile as they grieve. And I'm thankful our brains do recall images of events, and that the memories of our loved ones live on inside us.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

September already?!?

I think this may be a first...a harvest of pears, apples and grapes...all in one year! I don't think this has ever happened before. Usually we lose at least one, if not two, of those harvests. But this year...we've got all three!

September is an unusual line-up for us. The last two weeks of this month I'll be teaching a training class for the Board of Elections and gearing up for October's election, where I'll be overseeing precincts I've never visited before, as well as "mentoring" a coordinator in training. That last part scares me a little. The first election I worked as a coordinator, it was to be as a substitute, and my coordinator would be back the next election. That was 3 years ago. A year after I started, they began the mentoring program, but since I was then considered "experienced" I was never mentored. I've always wondered if I were doing things correctly, or if there was a better way to do things. Yes, I'm one of those weirdos who like to have rules and boundaries so I know what to do.

It's also time to clean up the garden mess and get everything ready for the winter. And we have about a dozen eggs set to hatch around the middle of the month, which means an extra 30 minute job every morning and evening once they hatch.

And somewhere in the midst of this is more doctor appointments and quilt time (if I'm going to finish quilts for Christmas, since I didn't do it last year).

This month is "manageable" but if we have any more major things thrown our way, then I'll have to start emptying the schedule somehow. My husband says I'm not a nice person when I'm overbooked, and I'm trying hard to be more realistic with how much/how little time I have.

On the upside...Bobby's chair is repaired and he's now back in the driver seat in the van!!! The dogs are ecstatic to have us back in our normal routine. Sunday when I wheeled him out of the house to the van, they acted like he had been gone forever. Which to them, Mr.Outdoors had been "locked up" for over a week, which would be forever. We're hoping with two new motors, this chair will last us another four-five years. I know the back will need replacing in the next two years, but for now it's holding. And hopefully by the time we have no choice but to replace this one, we'll have a better idea of what will work and won't, and all the insurance upheaval will have settled down so everyone is clear on what options, if any, there will be. To be honest, I'm glad he doesn't have to make a decision now. Imagine shopping for clothes that you would have to wear every single day for the next 8-10 years without being able to try anything on, and the cost of those clothes are equal to the price of a car. That's a fairly good description of what wheelchair shopping is like for quadriplegics. And we get to postpone that! :)

Happy September!