Monday, January 23, 2017

messy Monday

Today was one of the days I took a relative to a medical appointment. We were heading into the rehab/recreation area at WakeMed. Coming off the wheelchair ramp I decided to cut through an area, my foot hit the slight raised area (which I didn't see because I was reading signs), and my ankle turned. Before I knew what happened I was on my knees with my purse and hair hanging over my head. It took me a minute to get up, and by the time I was standing two therapists were by my side wanting to know if I needed help or needed to be checked out. I told them I was fine. One of them didn't believe me and said she wanted to see me walk before she left. By this point I am VERY embarrassed, and told her I was okay, just a skinned knee, and I needed to get my balance before moving. I told Bobby I should have told her the only thing hurt was my pride. And while my knee is a tad sore, I am thankful it was on a carpeted area.

Meanwhile construction workers started putting up the privacy fence between us and the school. Bobby requested a chain link fence when permits/approval of the building process started since Garner was demanding a walkway which bordered on our property line. I wasn't thrilled with the idea of a chain link fence, but since the school was paying and I don't blame them for wanting to keep costs down, I didn't say much (other than to my husband). But for whatever reason, they're actually building a fence with treated wood. I'm thankful for that, and they're certainly doing a great and thorough job. But one of my taller crepe myrtles was too far over the property line, and they chopped it down. Had I known, I would have dug it up this morning. But the school did pay us for one crepe myrtle. We thought they'd take the one planted on the new right-of-way. They left it, and took out this one instead. And after putting up a new garden fence last spring, it looks like there will not be about 12" between the fence and the garden. A part of me hates I put the fence up, but I know if we had waited the chickens would have dug up/eaten most of the produce. Nothing is more frustrating than knowing you have one more week to picking beans and going out and seeing the birds have scratched up the plants and all your work is for naught.

One of the quilt groups I belong to started the new year tonight (our first meeting was cancelled due to the ice/snow 2 weeks ago). I still haven't finished the quilt top from last year's group, but went ahead and started the new project. This year doesn't seem to be as complicated, so I think if I continue to work at home on the old one and save the new one for class I might be able to get both of them done before the year is out. Hopefully I'll be posting pictures of both soon.

It's hard to believe January is almost over. Mentally it makes me feel old to say time is simply passing too fast and I want it all to slow done. My 18 year old self thought that was crazy old people talk. Now, it's my reality. I guess I'm officially old.

Friday, January 13, 2017

lifter of my head

One of Bobby's nieces is having a really tough time at school right now. When she called to wish him Happy Birthday, she confessed that she'd cried at school every day last week. So I gave her the gratitude challenge (in her case, to find 2 things to be thankful for during every class), and the next day we texted her during the day, including a passage of Psalm 3: But you O Lord, are a shield for me, the maker and the lifter of my head.

And I've needed that verse so very much myself this week.

2017 is starting much the way 2016 ended...surrounded by hurting people. Yesterday we went to visit a friend at the hospital. I bypassed the information desk for the restroom. On my way out of the restroom, I rounded the corner and found his wife leaning against the wall outside the chaplain's office, trying to text someone and not cry. I don't care how much you've watched a loved one suffer, there's a small part of us that never wants to realize we're pages away from the ending of a book in our life's series.

Last night a family friend was rushed into emergency surgery. My nieces began the drive from TN to NC last night so they can see their "Poppa". It's another one of the scenarios where I don't know how to pray. I tend to alternate between "Lord, Help!" and "Lord, you know..."

And he does. And the older I get, the more I realize the Great Physician heals our emotional and mental state just as much, if not more, than our finite physical being. Or as David wrote: our maker lifts our heads.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

saying goodbye

We weren't able to hear all of the President's farewell address last night. What we did hear was a speech very similar to others he has made in the past: some good points, some very biased/almost racist points, some very divisive points, some practical advice, and a loving tribute to his family.

Even though I fall on the opposite spectrum of the President's political viewpoints, there are things I do appreciate about him and his family. For starters, he has always talked about personal responsibility. It might not be in the same way my family presented it growing up, but the theme has resounded throughout his eight years in office. Don't like something? Get involved to change it. (And the double irony here is that people have done just that, and many of his policies are "depend on the government not on yourself"). I've also appreciated many of the statements Michelle Obama made in her speeches, with "When they go low, we go high."  being one of my favorites. Yet another comment that my parents would have stated, though in different words.

I've also appreciated their family life. From the early start of the election years, their girls have dressed age appropriately. You don't see them hiding or slouching behind garment bags or secret service agents. Their parents have done a great job of shielding them from too much press, allowing them to lead as normal a life as possible. I LOVE that Mrs. Robinson moved to DC with the family to look after the girls while they were growing up. Who better than Grandma to love, discipline, and train when parents are busy fulfilling job demands?

I've found it ironic that many conservatives who stress family values have been so critical of the Obama administration. Yes, they don't share all of our values, but they have stressed family (with the exception of the time the President took a potshot at non-working Moms), and have mostly lived out an example of modesty, both in dress and lifestyle.

These are virtues that I'm going to miss greatly when the new first family finally moves into the White House. I wish the Obamas well, and commend them for the areas where they have been a good example to our nation.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

a peaceful solitude

I felt like last year was such a whirlwind that it has been more than nice to have several days of being unable to go anywhere. I've actually done some fun things - pulled out a puzzle (printed on 2 sides and double cut....what was I thinking?) and have spent several hours in my sewing room.  Granted, there's been the everyday life chores, and the unexpected winter chores (carrying hot water out to the dogs and chickens to thaw out their water bowls), but overall these last few days have been nice.

In December one of the quilt groups I belong to was skipping our traditional meeting (I think only me and one other person had not finished the quilt top for the month) and were going to do the jelly roll race as a fun meeting night. With all the family coming in for the wedding, I ended up missing it. Since I already had my roll, I decided on Saturday to go ahead and make my quilt top. It didn't turn out as I expected (I modified the plan a little), so I've still got some work to do before that will ever be considered a finished quilt top. Maybe I'll post pics of that later this week. But I have been trying to work on this past year's project. I'm not halfway through page 10 (out of 18) pages. This quilt has HOURS of work on it, but I think it's going to be one of my favorites when I'm done.

And today is Bobby's birthday, so I'll be making country styled steak for supper tonight (one of his favorites). He said no to cake (crazy, I know), so I spent my afternoon sewing and ironing instead of baking  a cake. And I put cheese in the scrambled eggs. Not my thing, but he likes it. So for his special day, he got it.

The pond is starting to melt, as is the ice/snow around the house. Our driveway is in the shade, so it doesn't melt as fast as other places. Nevertheless, we may venture out tomorrow. If not tomorrow, then I'm definitely heading out on Thursday.

Happy Bobby Day!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

What was I thinking? part one

I am an ideas person. Pinterest is that friend who is fun to hang out with but you really, truly shouldn't. I think you know where this post is headed.

About 30 years ago my parents bought a television. Long story short, I acquired it when I was 26 and was very thankful to get it.
Fast forward to June of 2016. The above television is STILL working with the help of a digital converter box, but the picture compared to our tiny high definition television was terrible. Being the practical people that we are, we kept saying "When this one breaks down we'll pick out the one we want." Except this television never broke down. Not ever. I even watched it during an electrical storm hoping for a repeat of the death of the tv that happened when I was 5, but no such luck. So in June of last year when it started messing up a little with the volume, we were not disappointed. I verbally informed Bobby I thought this holiday season when everything was on sale we would get a new one. And the dumb thing started behaving again. So I have to say I felt VERY guilty about replacing it with a new model. It still worked!!! But replace it we did, and then I was left with a piece of furniture that has been with me most of my life. And Pinterest had some really cool ideas on what could be done with old television sets.

 The back come off relatively easy, once I acquired the proper screwdriver.

 But the screen was STAPLED into the top front of the cabinet, which could not be reached because of the big picture tube in the back. So I called dear old Dad, who suggested flipping it on its back and using a flat head screwdriver or putty knife to pry the staples off.  That worked.

 And now I have the gutted cabinet, ready for some woodwork and enhancements. Did I mention this cabinet has wheels on the bottom that make it very easy to move?

The guts were not quite so easy to get rid of. For one, they were VERY heavy. As in so heavy that they ripped this box within 2 minutes of being inside, and I had to slide the box and then the tv guts on top of the old backboard into the van. I don't think the guy at the recycle place was very happy that I had gutted the television, but there was no way I was going to throw away a very nice piece of furniture (with wheels!!) when I could make a use for it. My parents and my husband think I'm a little crazy, but they've thought that long before I ever started this project, and I think (provided I can do the woodwork fairly decent) that I'm going to be very pleased when it gets done. Mind you, we hauled the parts off on Saturday (we drove to North Raleigh Friday only for the place to have closed 4 minutes before we got there), and I've still not measured the insides for the wood pieces I need. It very well may sit in my living room for another week or two before it is finished, but at least it step one is completed. Considering I've never been able to drive a straight nail very well, phase 2 could be very interesting indeed.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

not for me

Urban farming, hobby farming, off the grid...I hear those words a lot in various places. Living off the grid is clearly not for me, no matter how much my husband used to tease me about being a hermit. (Although, his actual statement was "If hermits had electricity and internet, I think you could be one." He knows me well.)

But today I learned that I can absolutely not be a true urban farmer. We had to finish hatching out some eggs late this summer. And since it's impossible to sex the eggs before they hatch, we wound up with several roosters. Five, to be exact. A month ago that began to be a problem. They were fighting each other, debating whether or not to challenge the head rooster (their dad), and were attempting to all mate the hens. We ended up locking up the main rooster and all but two hens (those hatched with the roosters and refused to join the other hens in the big hen house) so the hens could recover from all the trauma. Within a week they were starting to regrow their feathers. So that problem was solved, though we were still dealing with the crowing convention that started about 4am every morning. Well, I heard it when rolling over or shifting covers for someone before going back to sleep, but the other person who lives in our house evidently couldn't sleep through it. (But he can sleep through the dogs barking ALL NIGHT LONG. Yes, we're all wired differently.) Regardless, we can't leave the hens locked up forever.

After many unsuccessful attempts at rehoming and finding out the closest processing plant is about 4 hours away, I began researching ways to kill and clean chickens on youtube this morning. In my college years, I spent 6 weeks in Africa, and one of the villages we visited blessed us with a welcoming gift of about 20 chickens. I kid you not. And the missionaries thought we needed the experience of killing and cleaning the chickens. The boys in the group did the slaughtering and we girls had to pluck the feathers. It was gross. Thankfully the Africans took care of the rest. Later we found out the missionaries teaching our classes didn't do that themselves but actually took it to a butcher to have done. So since I've had one very brief introduction into the process, I thought maybe I could take care of the rooster problem. I thought I could review a few videos, and have the process halfway finished before Bobby came home from an errand this morning.  After four different videos, none of which I finished watching, I came to the realistic conclusion that I am NOT a pioneer woman and have no desire to handle this aspect of a hobby farm. So not long after he got home I called a butcher shop, who gave me the number to a slaughterhouse nearby that processes chickens for a very reasonable fee. I don't know how long it took for us to round up the roosters and get them in their boxes, but we were home with birds in the freezer by 2pm.

And this picture, right before I loaded everything in the van, made me laugh. I asked Bobby if they were saying good-bye, and he just laughed. We both know our birds are extremely curious creatures.

Monday, January 2, 2017

odd stickies

There are some random details that just stick in my brain for odd reasons.  Last night/early this morning is the time my grandmother died several years ago. I don't remember the year, but I remember the phone call from my sister and my Dad. We were in north Raleigh trying to get the account on Bobby's phone settled and add me a cell phone, and spent almost the entire day (okay, three hours, not counting the time driving there) trying to get the whole mess straightened out. We were finally on the way home when my sister called Bobby's cell. The family had been trying to reach me all afternoon. When I called to talk to my Mom, Dad angrily told me to get a cell phone. The irony of it all still makes me shake my head. She was the last grandparent I had living. We were all thankful she died on the 2nd, as the 1st is my Uncle's birthday, and I can't think of much worse than losing a loved one on your birthday or anniversary.

I think of her at random times...when I'm folding clothes, or cleaning house, or when I pull my hair back with a barrette and pony tail. She hated that. I won't say what she'd tell me, but she didn't like it all. I think about her when I'm cleaning. She kept a very tidy house, and couldn't stand clutter. She'd throw things away or give things away in a heart beat. She loved to cook, and hated cooking and not having someone to share it with. I think that's one of the harder things she experienced about being a widow. She loved "the boys" (my four male cousins and my brother) and always reminded me it was my job to pray for them. And strangely enough, when I think of her, I think about that, and I do.

It's funny the things we think about and remember when a person is gone.

Happy homegoing day, Rea-Rea!