Friday, October 30, 2015

Go Set a Watchman

There's a lot about Alabama I love. There's a lot about Alabama I hate. I think that can be said for any hometown/state. And I think that's one of the reasons why Harper Lee's book To Kill a Mockingbird was so popular. It covered the best and worst of a society, in its historical context, with all its horrors and all its good. It's also why I hesitated to read Lee's latest published work.

If what I have read is true, Go Set a Watchman was her original work. It was also rejected by the editor with a suggestion that she rewrite it from Scout's point of view as a child. The manuscript of Scout as an adult confronting a myriad of thoughts, emotions, people, and societal views was supposedly left untouched with her important papers. I bought the book, but hesitated to read it for some time. This past week, I finally read it, and was both saddened and surprised. Saddened, because racism and the ugly part of my home state is never a pretty thing to read. Surprised, because it addressed things head-on in historical context without any political correctness. New York's racism is brought up, women's place in society, Scout's issues and struggles with the church, the NAACP, states' rights, reverse racism, and even freedom of speech. It's all there.

It's been many years since I've read her first published work. As an adult, I prefer the second book, her first writing, much better. For a classroom assignment, I'm not sure if I'd go with Mockingbird or assign them both as a comparison/contrast in viewpoint and ways of presenting the same matter in different ways.

But grown-up Scout is right in many ways - once you leave home, nothing is ever the same.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

pictures and privacy

I have many friends who are extremely cautious about posting pictures of their children anywhere on the internet. Whether it be Facebook, their blog, twitter, or instagram, they either won't post pictures at all, or make sure to obscure their faces. I do my best to respect those wishes. It's their children; their responsibilities and viewpoints. Since my family is scattered across many states, and social media is one of many ways we communicate, that's not our policies. But I've thought about this a lot more lately as blogger has posted notices about Europe's stricter privacy policies, especially with pictures. A college friend who lives in Spain commented once that they can't use certain pictures in letters because of privacy laws. I find it a little funny and strange (and sad) that Europe is viewing individual privacy as more important than America does. I thought our nation was supposed to be the one that was more individualistic, but turns out, we're not.

There are many times I wonder how wise it is to post so much on social media. But I view this blog as a way of sharing my thoughts with family and friends, as well as a means of keeping a record of my life - a new way of journaling. And when my parents were here a few weeks ago, I hesitated to post pictures of their trip on social media, but knew my siblings and relatives would want to see them. What easier way for us to have a group conversation and banter with each other than Facebook? It's not the same as being together, but it's a decent second to that.

I'm trying to be more careful and cautious with what I post, but not at the expense of sharing things with my family. It's a delicate balance, and for now I'm leaning more toward the side of communication.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

plodding onward

Life doesn't stop. Not for company, not for illness, not for projects, not for anything. It just keeps going and going and...yeah.

So a brief update on what's happened/happening:

Since my last update, Bobby blacked out one morning, spent 2 days in the hospital, and we are currently trying meds to see what can help raise his low blood pressure (low for even a quadraplegic, which is REALLY low) and irregular heartbeat.

Quilts of valor...but that deserves it's own post with venting and bragging.

A parental visit...which included all kinds of fun things...that's like 4 posts worth of stuff

house cleaning - it's happening

Squirrel issues - they don't share the way I think they should

Chicken updates: 10 biddies nearly fully feathered and 2 teens have started laying

Books: I clearly have different thoughts and tastes than most; my pile is oh so slowly shrinking's coming!

More elaborate posts to come...hopefully this week!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

the sun has come out!

After 12 days of drizzle/mist/rain, our area of North Carolina is finally seeing the sun! I actually made it outside today for thirty minutes of yardwork, and then my arms said "No more!" so I quit for the evening. Yes, I'm turning into a big wimp. And with tomorrow's temps rising higher, I'm hoping the sun and air will dry out the ground even more, and I can cut the grass and weedeat. And MAYBE I'll finish trimming the shrubs. But realistically, I think that will wait until Friday. :) Or perhaps I'll do two more shrubs tomorrow and then finish them on Thursday. No point in over-doing it, you know.

Meanwhile, my parents are coming next week. A small part of me says I need to be inside cleaning like mad. Another small part of me shrugs and says "Why? Your Mom is going to clean most of the time she's here anyway!" I think it goes without saying that I did not inherit Mom's "every item must have a place and that place isn't in a pile" mentality.

And if there's any doubt that it's fall and October, the spiders are out. They're starting to take over the back porch again. If I don't get out there with a broom soon, all the hard work a teenager did power-washing our house this summer will not be anywhere near as noticeable. And that would be sad indeed.

Monday, October 5, 2015


Saturday should have been supply pick-up day, and this afternoon/evening I would have been in Cary helping precincts set up for tomorrow's election. But for the first time in 11 years, I cancelled. Yes, I was one of those people I begged people in training NOT to be. But Saturday was the second day in a row of very rough mornings at our house (bad enough I called the cardiologist), so I was very thankful I had made the decision the day before not to work this week.

And today? It's been great. Yesterday there was one very small episode, and today, as far as I know, there's been none. So I'm hoping Bobby's new meds are working and that this will be one of those things we can manage. And if all goes well, I'll be making my rounds again on election day in November.

Meanwhile, I've started researching presidential candidates. I said I wasn't going to do this before January, but figured I might as well begin the process of reading their books and slowly looking through their websites and twitter accounts. I'm really disappointed Walker dropped out of the race. He was one of the top 5 candidates I had planned to research. (And for the record, I'll read up on almost all of them, but there's some that have already piqued more interest than others. And NO, Trump is NOT one of them!)

But that's not on my checklist for today. Maybe I'll have time to read more tonight, but I'm bound and determined that my to do list will finally be all crossed out before the evening ends (instead of being re-written to include things from the previous 2 weeks!).

Anyone else still in shock that it's October?

Saturday, October 3, 2015

a new chapter

Since the end of May, Bobby has struggled with bouts of light-headedness in the morning. It's not uncommon for people who are paralyzed to have a drop in their already low blood pressure when they go from laying down to their wheelchair, so we weren't too overly concerned about it. Usually it got better within an hour of being in his chair, and the rest of the day would be okay. June must not have been a problem for I have no blood pressure readings from that month. But in July, things started getting crazy. We began getting Error messages on the blood pressure monitor, and we had one or two days where he just felt bad all day long. And there was no rhyme nor reason to which mornings or days this would happen. Just when we thought we found the pattern, it changed.

This past Tuesday, he passed out.  We spent 2 days at the hospital, learning that his heart is in very good shape, but he has a condition called atrial flutter. It's a very common heart arrhythmia, and can be treated by both medication and ablation. At this point, we are trying medication, and are to follow up with the cardiologist in a month. The first day home, he felt and acted the best he has in a long time. The next day was rough. This morning, I called the cardiologist. It looks like very slow mornings may be our new norm for a while (as in it takes 45 minutes to put a shirt on because of the almost fainting).

Everything I read says this is not life-threatening by itself, but if left untreated it can cause very serious complications. I feel helpless. There is nothing I can do to change this. We can and are modifying a few things that his cardiologist suggested, but overall, there's really nothing I can do. It's one of those faith, fact, and emotion battles. I want answers and concrete plans for the future. Faith says God's got it so I should chill. Facts say if there's a problem for an old person to have, this is one of the better ones. We've made it through every other hurdle thrown our way, and we will this one as well. But the inner me just wants this all to go away.