Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Moving Experience

An amazing video followed by a thought-provoking quote, something to ponder as we welcome the New Year....



"Night is drawing nigh. How long the road is. But, for all the time the journey has already taken, how you have needed every second of it." --Dag Hammarskjold

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Remembering Christmas

If I have your address, you probably received this card in the mail by now (if you'd like to receice a card next year, send me your snail mail address and I will put you on my list). The photo is a little different. I played in Photoshop a bit and I really like the results, even though the changes I made were quite subtle and very simple.

A very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you...

Christmas-that magic blanket
that wraps itself about us,
that something so intangible
that it is like a fragrance.
It may weave a spell of nostalgia.

Christmas may be a day of feasting,
or of prayer, but always it will be
a day of remembrance--
a day in which we think of everything
we have ever loved.
--Augusta E. Rundell

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Winter Wonderland Fascimile

(and Beware the Long Arm of the Law)

Here are a few photos of the teency amount of snow we received last week. I was awake at 3 a.m. and went outside to watch the white stuff falling from the sky.

Pitiful, ain't it?

If you look closely, you can see my footprint in the right corner of this shot. Want to know what shoes I was wearing? I had on a pair of flip-flops! My feet were freezing!

This is the stump of one of the cedar trees taken out by Hurricane Rita.

Now, about the long arm of the law. My daughter was in Sam's and she saw two older women looking like they were about to engage in a throw-down, or at least a shouting match. It seems one of them thought the other one had cut in line at the check-out. I asked what they looked like and she said they looked like they came straight from her grandmother's Sunday School class. I don't think anyone's "witness" was tarnished, as all they did was shake their finger (their pointer finger) at each other! Daughter did not feel the need to intervene in this altercation (if you remember, she recently graduated with a degree in Criminal Justice, and now she feels obligated to uphold the law everywhere she goes!).

But when she was driving home, at a particularly busy intersection, she saw two grown men with their windows down, yelling at each other and pointing (that) finger (not their pointer finger) at each other. There was a lot of traffic and so she pulled out her badge she has to get into court and discreetly covered the edges so the men did not know it was just paper and then proceeded to act as though she was calling someone on her cell phone to make a report. It did not take long for the men to roll up their windows and not another harsh word was said.

And then my mother had the story to tell about how two older women in WalMart got into in the food place and one was picking up a chair when a man intervened and saved the day (the police came later and took them both away). All of this leads us to wonder, what is it with senior citizens and their tempers these days? Lawsie.

Also, in another reference to the long arm of the law, we saw my son's first juvenile probation officer this weekend. She remembered him and us and seemed glad to hear that he was doing well. Sometimes I wonder if they get tired of hearing mostly bad news about their young clients. We were fortunate to always have good experiences with any of the authorities we had to deal with during that time.

Oh yeah, I put a "follow this blog" thing on my sidebar. If you want to do it, all you do it click and then it does something and your little icon is there. I am not sure what the point of the thing is, but I thought I'd try it out and see what happens. Blogger is making it so easy to add a bunch of junk to your sidebar these days!


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Snow! Tomorrow!

My oldest heard it on the radio. My husband saw it in the newspaper. Snow, coming our way! Both of them sometimes tend to make things sound more sure than they are so I wanted to read the article for myself. Bottom line--possible flurries. IMO, the word "flurries" does not even deserve to be spoken in the same sentence as the word "snow". When spoken together, as in "snow flurries tomorrow" all people hear around here is the word "snow". Then excitement abounds, along with stories of how we behaved the last time it snowed (and stuck to the ground), which was somewhere around 1992, if my memory serves me right. At the present moment, it is raining and cold.

It is finals week at work and yesterday and today, I proctored a couple of finals. One of them was a Psyc 101 class, where one of the students taking the final was a big tall basketball player. You know what I love about some of the male student athletes I have seen so far on the job? When they have to take a test, or ask you for special permission to get in a class that is already filled (and they forgot on the way over from their advisor's office what it was they were supposed to ask for), if you watch real closely, you can almost see the wheels turning in their brains! (Oh that is a shameful observation! But notice that I did not say all male student athletes are that way!)

I also enjoy interacting with the international students. I think it must take great courage to come so far to school, and in some cases, barely knowing the language. I am amazed at how they can still manage to make good grades in spite of English not being their first language. Today, while proctoring the exam, I had to try and explain to an Oriental student what the word "depict" meant. That was a tough one to be asked to explain, given the cirumstances. Poor thing, I gave an example and asked if that helped and she said "yes" but I don't know if she really understood, or was just being polite. I helped her with a registration problem at the beginning of the semester and now when we see each other out on campus, we always speak to each other. She probably gets a lot of impatient stares tossed her way so I do try to go out of my way to be kind to her and others like her.

And finally, a comment or two to Tab Calhoun, formerly known as Simple Blog writer: When I signed on to do this post, I saw I had a comment from you that needed to be moderated. I think I needed to "approve" it because it was a comment on an older post. Anyway, you said:

"Soda is the devil's juice. Whatever vocabulary you use, it's bad for you and your new-new doc is right about that.

Albert, huh? I was just wondering if muses have to be women and you answered that questions."


The devil's juice, huh? I like that! I'll have to remember the description if I am ever tempted to take a swig again!

Spooky Rach mentioned her muse's name once, and it was a male name. I decided if she could have a male muse, so could I!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

You Might Be Wondering What I Have Been Up To (or not!)


Honestly, these women do look better in person than they do on this scan! I made a few mistakes while trying to do this, but I had fun anyway. When I got everything painted, I covered the canvas in beeswax. It gives the whole thing a nice sheen. If you want to see all the printing you can click on the picture--it is honking huge, I did not reduce it for uploading as I often do. I want to do some more of these as inspiration strikes. It was a learning process. I learned you ought to kind of plan ahead, that you shouldn't get excited and draw and paint the figures before thinking about and doing the background. In my defense, I am accustomed to working in Photoshop where you can add and remove layers as you go, or you can delete down to the original and start all over again. Anyway, I like them, even though they look a bit spooky!

I've been off my beloved Diet Coke now for 10 days now. I do know it is better for me but I still miss my old friend and snacking buddy. Sniff, sniff. I think the doctor is all right, just maybe a little weird. Lord knows I can't fault a person for being weird! But the evidence from the blood tests was not so good. I'll give you three little hints, no four--sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure--and the accompanying medication, none of it was unexpected. Now I just have to deal with it and decide whether or not I want to take care of myself. Everything can be improved with weight loss, changes in my diet and exercise. In dispensing the prescription for the diabetes, he said "I can give you medicine to help you along. I can't heal you. But you can possibly heal yourself." So, there is hope (there is always some sort of hope). I asked the doctor if it was similar to an addict dealing with a drug addiction, where they often have to reach bottom and decide to do the things necessary to live a healthier life and he agreed that was pretty much the idea. The really sad thing is, I do not feel like I have "hit bottom". I am still sort of in denial. Hopefully that will change.

My nephew came in on Thanksgiving day carrying a brand new Nikon D80 camera, causing me to have a serious lusting spell. I have been wanting a new camera similar to that one.

I think I've decided what I want to take when I can start taking classes at the university. I am thinking about taking one class in the spring semester, but I don't know if I will be able to or not. Anyway, I am going take all my classes with the goal of majoring in Spanish with a minor in Art. Working full time and taking one or two classes a semester, it will probably take several years for me to actually earn a degree, but that is the path I am going to follow. I had three years of Spanish in high school and have always wished I could have continued to learn the language. As for the art, maybe I can learn more about how to draw pictures of women that are not so spooky looking! And I want to learn more about photography. I am pleased to have a goal in my head.

I am still loving my job. It is in some ways, quite the cushy position to have. The people students and faculty) are certainly fun and interesting. Sometimes dealing with the paperwork is a pain in the rear--we have had several people go on conferences and that means paperwork has to be filled out in proper order before and after the trip. It is absolutely amazing how helpless these PhD types can be when confronted with government paperwork! I don't understand half of it myself either. But I can always count on the friendly lady in "travel" to call and correct me when I am wrong. She does not speak, she barks. I don't think she means to be so gruff, it is just that travel is what she does all day long and she can't understand why the rest of us can't get the forms filled out correctly (and she has worked there for a bajillion years and is in an office in a round building with no window and a curved wall covered in brick--that alone ought to be enough to drive anyone crazy, IMO)!

Well, this seems enough info for the day. Possibly there will be more to follow. . .

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

My Adventures in the Twilight Zone

NaBloPoMoWho??? I've definitely failed that task!

There are a couple of things I know that have distracted me from posting lately. One is that I feel downright bored and boring. Consequently, I am going to be tapering off my anti-depressant (with my doctor's approval). It seems to be my pattern that I get to where I need the medicine very badly, it works very well, and then becomes apparent that it is working too well because everything gets "dulled down" and "muted". It's like I can't feel anything anymore and I want my feeling back, even if "feeling" does not feel so good.


I worked Saturday on a painting/collage. I will post it when I am finished with it and can get a good picture of it. That's the other thing about being on an anti-depressant. My muse just disappears after a while. I've just decided, I think his name is Albert. If you see him wandering around anywhere, tell him to come back to me. I promise I will be nice and appreciative of him!


Christmas is barreling down on us like a freight train. I tend to get caught up in the expectations of the season, though probably like everyone else, things will be simpler this year. Maybe that is a good thing. Maybe it will bring more reflection on the real meaning of the season.

I went to a new doctor this week. I pulled his name out of the list of people who were on my insurance plan. My old "new" doctor went and moved himself into the sleep clinic field. I am still mad at him about that. But this new "new" guy, well that was a trip. There was no one else in the waiting room when I got there. The receptionist was oozing enthusiasm about the doctor. "I think you'll like him," she said. Turns out, the man is her husband. They have six children, all home schooled, and they help out in the office too. I heard them talking to another patient, but I never SAW anyone else there but me. It felt a bit like walking onto a Twilight Zone set.


The doctor himself wants me to get off Diet Coke. I get the feeling he would want me to get off regular Coke if I was drinking that. He says the stuff is addicting and "you drink it to feel normal". He also says that even though it does not have that illegal stuff that was in it originally, the ingredients come from the same leaf, and that is not good (cue in the Twilight Zone music). It's no longer illegal, but it is not good, the stuff they put in there. I asked him if I could at least finish off what I have at home. He did not think that was too funny.


Of course I have to go do all the requisite blood work and then report back to him. I suspect the news will not be good on the blood work. I am getting to that age where all your bad eating habits seem to catch up with you. I suppose the good news is, I am still young enough to make changes that will benefit my health. I'm beginning to have scary little visions of returning for that followup visit. What if he is a nut job, and his wife is in on it with him? (Cue the Twilight Zone music again)


I'm kidding. Sort of.


Stay tuned for next week's episode. . .

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Oops!

I seem to have lost a couple of days in my posting schedule! Ah well, it just proves that I can be flexible when necessary.

We've got a preacher guy who shows up every semester to share his version of the gospel. He stands out in the quad and just preaches his heart out to whoever is passing by. I am amazed at his stamina and his ability to project his voice. You can hear him from quite a distance. He just goes on and on, like the Energizer bunny. I have mixed feelings about him being out there. The students seem to see him as an odd distraction. I would guess that a lot of them have never heard this kind of hell fire and brimstone preaching. The people who work on campus seem to see him as an annoyance. It seems they recently had to call campus police to come and stand by. The preacher had specifically pointed out a couple of girls and announced they were dressed like wh*res. Some in the crowd were ready to defend the honor of the girls by jumping on the preacher. They were going to "shoot the messenger", so to speak.


Yesterday, on our way to the library book sale, we passed by him. He was sitting on a bench. I know he was praying. I appreciate his sincerity and admire his fortitude, though I am not so sure about his method. I'd like to sit with him and hear more about his story.


Monday, November 03, 2008

Still Undecided??

A yard sign in our neighborhood...


I hear he promises to flush out all cracks in the system.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Mindless Blather

The month of NaBloPoMo has just begun and already I am mindlessly blathering on! Hopefully things will get better, and not worse as the month wears on!

Ok, so it is a phone photo, and I should not have tried to take a picture of something so far away with my phone but if you will click on the photo, you can see the curve of the bridge. I was too lazy this afternoon to open Photoshop and work on improving it. It is a very picturesque bridge. I've always been drawn to shapely bridges for some unknown reason.

We have been out of the loop for a while with church and three weeks ago, we started visiting a different one. I kind of like this one.


I have blog categories in my Bloglines list. Last night I read through blogs in my "photo" category and my "miscellaneous" category so if I commented on your blog and your blog is not really a "photo" blog, then you will know that I consider your blog to be difficult to peg into any normal category!! I've still got my "artsy-fartsy" and "faith" category to work through. The "faith" people are particularly prolific and often, their blogs require a little time to thoughtfully wade through. I may have to save them for next weekend to look through!


I'm wanting to do some artsy-fartsy work myself, but I need to pick up some supplies. My "crappy" brushes seem to have all been chewed up by the big dogs when they were here. I thought I had them put up far enough so they would not be in danger, but no, these dogs are talented. Grrr!!


I have to administer a serious test tomorrow. It is the first time I have had to do this and I am a bit nervous about doing it. Things have to be done just so and I am so afraid I am going to do something wrong. They are allotted four hours to complete the test but from what I have been told, it usually does not last that long. I have to bring a book to entertain myself (while also watching to make sure no one is cheating or anything). And I have to read instructions to them, like they are first graders. It is an important test for these students and I am sure they are all a bit nervous about it. I am too. It is some kind of counselor exam test.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

A New Month

The beginning of November finds me with the task of attending yet another funeral for one of my son's friends. She leaves behind two small children, a boy who is three, and a girl who is only six months old. The father of the children is my son's best friend. Thankfully, the friend is a strong young man who pretty much has his act together. Both grandmothers are also actively involved in their lives too. They will provide some much needed support as well.

November is also National Blog Posting Month, so even though I have not officially signed up, I am making a commitment to myself to post something every day this month. I'm in a reflective mood these days so I don't know how this will turn out. I have several lists of journal prompts that I may draw from for subject matter and maybe on some days, I will just post a favorite quote or something.


I want to also slowly start catching up on some of my favorite blogs again. I have been "saving" the posts as unread in Bloglines and there are many to read through. I know I have missed some fun, thoughtful, goofy and intelligent stuff (I think that covers most of the personality types of the blogs I read!).

Many thanks to those of you who commented on the previous post. I appreciate the kind words and the spirit of support that was offered. I may not quite be "back", but I am stirring around a bit, and that is usually a fairly reliable indication of life (unless, of course, I am, like, just twitching involuntarily, in which case, you might want to ignore anything I say!).

Thursday, October 16, 2008

And You are Loved Too


Monday morning when I came to work there were chalk drawings and sayings all around campus. I don't know what they did over the weekend but it was nice to see this one and to be reminded that I am loved (though I've never much doubted that). Somehow this simple chalk message touched me.

I've been trying to deal with some personal things. Things I am not ready to talk about on my blog. My kids are all okay. I still like my job. It's just me. There is something that is exposing some pretty major dysfunctional cracks in my facade. I know I need to deal with the situation but I can't seem to make myself do it. It's kind of like needing to throw up and fighting the need. You know you'll feel better if you just get it out there but you hate throwing up. I need to puke and I am fighting it.


I'm sorry I did not post any sooner and appreciate the concern of those who have wondered where I am and what has been going on. I'll slowly be coming back around and I will be trying to catch up on my blog reading and commenting. I've saved blog posts in my Bloglines reader and I know some of you have been quite active lately.


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Halfway Through the Season, Sigh

This is the scene that greeted us as we woke up Saturday morning after a restless night. My husband has to have a small fan running (roaring) at night to sleep so it was hard to hear the wind. I woke up a couple of times to see how things were going. It was quite breezy but we did not get that much rain.

There is a small gully that winds behind these houses. In the middle photo you can see the bridge railings. It was the weirdest thing. The water that you see was not due to rain, but to the infamous storm surge all the weather people talk about these days. Even before the outer bands of Ike actually got here, the water in our lake was overflowing and the bayous were swelling.



The water around these homes had all receded by the afternoon. Our house is across the street from these and the water had been creeping up in our yard. We were worrying that we might flood but we were spared when the water started going down.

We still have electricity but the street my parents live on does not and there are other places that do not have it around town. Hopefully the power will be restored soon. Most of the damage in this area came from flooding this time around rather than winds.


My daughter lives in a trailer south of town. We have not been out there to see if she flooded or had wind damage. We are still technically under a curfew but I think today they may loosen that up a bit and we can get over there to check things out before she gets back from New Orleans where she and a friend went to escape the storm (Okay, it
might have been an excuse just to spend the weekend in New Orleans!). But as my neighbor said about one of her grown daughters it might have been better for her to be away than to have to deal with the stress of her being here and worrying!

My family in Houston is all safe and sound but they are (obviously) without power. My sister has not been able to check on her house which is on the backside of Galveston Bay. To get to her house she has to go through Kemah and Seabrook, two small cities that were heavily damaged by the storm surge. Hopefully the water did not reach her house. It does sit on a hill and is on piers so that may have helped. She is hoping to go look today but I kind of doubt she will be able to get through.


I feel so sorry for the folks in Houston. Rita came through three years ago and there are still scars from that storm. I can't imagine the time it will take to get things back together for such a large city as Houston. It's going to be hard because they are accustomed to going and doing at all hours of the day. Things will definitely be slowing down for them now.


And of course I also feel great sympathy for Galveston and the other areas that were hit. It's going to be a tough time for all of them.


Thank God there is not another storm brewing out there at the moment. I think all of us on the Gulf Coast are a bit storm-weary, emotionally, financially and physically.


Ayekah mentioned watching the video stream of one of our local OEP (Office of Emergency Preparedness) briefings. I really do think we have the best group of people working together on this. They learned a lot from Rita and then implemented what they learned. They also learned from Gustav and made changes in transporting people out to shelters who had way to transport themselves. It takes a lot of coordinating to arrange all these things before and after a storm. They all seem to work well together and do an excellent job.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Yikes! Ike!

Ike is huge. That is all there is to that.

We are staying home this time even though I have a feeling that is not the wisest choice we could have made. The university closed today at noon and hopefully we will be going back to work on Monday.


We are under a mandatory curfew which begins tomorrow morning at 10. They apparently think that is when the tropical force winds and the rain will start. We're on the bad side of the storm and if it moves any toward the east, things will only get worse.


We've got water and food, and books to read, and oil for our lamps, flashlights and batteries. It's probably going to be a long rough weekend.


My parents live in the same neighborhood as we do. We've got the generator and enough gas for a couple of nights of AC. If (when?) the power goes out, we will head down there to sleep.


All we do now is wait on Ike.


What will y'all be doing for the weekend??


My son and my sister and my aunt are all in Houston. They too will be waiting (along with all those other people who live in Houston who I do not know!). They are all at my aunt's house in Pasadena. As of now, I don't think they have been told to evacuate.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Better Safe Than Sorry

That's the new official motto of the Southwest Louisiana area, declared and so moved by me! Plus, the evacuation was mandatory and I wanted to do my civic duty by being obedient to the law.

When we left for Rita three years ago this month, we were laughing about all the trouble of evacuating for nothing (or so we thought!) and boasting that we'd be back in a day or two. When we left for Gustav, we were fretful and thinking we might be gone several weeks--and we were back in a day or two. Ya just never know.

The sad thing is, when you dodge the bullet, it usually means someone else has to take it. My heart goes out to the people who are now having to deal with the problems brought in by Gustav.

I was able to participate in a few shopping therapy groups and managed to get a few new books from Borders, a bookstore I'd never been in before--AND--I bought a Christmas gift, so I guess I can say I have officially started my Christmas shopping!!

We had a great time visiting with my sister and brother-in-law, but I am glad to be home.


Saturday, August 30, 2008

Decision Made

After much debate, we are heading to my sister's house in Houston around 1:00 A.M. tonight, heeding a recommended evacuation. They have put off the decision for a mandatory evacuation until tomorrow at noon. I will be surprised if they don't order everyone out, so we are going to get ahead of the game a bit. We were going to the country like we did after Rita but the forecast looks like they may get a lot more wind and rain than they did last time.

We'll be near Flutterby's sister (Bacliff, Flutterby) in the Clear Lake area if she did not have to evacuate.


And Rach, if we have to leave Houston, can I bring my daughter, and my parents and my sister and her husband and my other two kids and my aunt, and one nephew and probably his girfriend? And oh yeah, SEVEN dogs??? Thanks so much for the hospitable offer!!


I'll be back when I can.


(Edited to add: I meant to leave the link to the TV station in case any of you are interested in seeing what is going on.--
www.kplctv.com

Friday, August 29, 2008

Gustav Update

We expect to hear sometime tomorrow whether we will have a mandatory evacuation. If it is mandatory, we will evacuate. We have 72 hours after they give the announcement to leave. We will be heading to the country again, about 75 miles away from here. Man, I hope we don't have to leave. The thought of getting in that line of traffic and taking over 8 hours to travel 75 miles...well, I suppose I speak for the entire Gulf coast when I say none of us wants to do any of this again. But we will, if need be.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Oh Good Grief

The totally unnerving thing is, they don't really know anything yet so they keep putting out their computer models with very broad predictions. Hardly anything can be known until it at least gets in the Gulf. I try very hard not to waste my energy on speculating what is going to happen, but it is hard not to get caught up in the drama. Everybody is antsy it seems, and for good reason I suppose.

But still, I'm not ready to hear about it, talk about it, or even make a decision as to whether we will stay or leave.




I'm gonna walk with courage all right. I'm gonna walk myself to my hall bath with no windows in the center of my house and I'm gonna bring some blankets and food and water and a twin bed mattress to hide under. I'm just kidding. It is too early to decide. For now I will stay calm and try to avoid the incessant drama of the news and weather reports.

PS In case it is not clear, I am talking about Hurricane Gustav.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Psycho Babble

Here is a not very clear photo of some of the stuff I saved from the trash bin the first week at work. I was a bit hesitant to say much about the stuff because one of the women kept saying "they like to keep this stuff out of the hands of the general public" and that made me nervous since I am a member of the general public. But it turns out she was okay with me having the parts. They were going in the trash anyway, for heaven's sake.


Here is a hand. If you can recognize that fact, I suppose that means we have ascertained that you do indeed possess some measure of intelligence.

You can probably also recognize that the puzzle below is an apple. But the pieces do not fit together as they should. What is up with that, and what does it say about a person's intelligence when they can't make the puzzle fit properly (because obviously the puzzle is faulty and they threw that in to make people stumble)?

Here we have a tiny, ugly rubber doll. I have no idea what her presence means in the whole scheme of things. Look at her eyes! She looks slightly startled. I have no idea why. They also had little tiny forks and spoons and some buttons and thimbles in this particular kit. Oh yea, there were small blue locomotives and little cars too. I have no idea what I will do with the locomotives and the cars, but I have them if a brilliant idea comes to me.

Now this is a book, about three inches by one and a half inches. It has little pictures that you take out. If I remember right, there is one picture that does not go with the other ones and you have to choose which one does not match. I really like the little pockets and I want to do something artsy-fartsy with the little book. I only got one little book. There were two but I shared the other one with one of the professors (not only am I intelligent, but I am also kind!).

Here we have a lady. I intentionally left her ear out because the hole in her head amuses me. She looks kind of scary, doesn't she?

Here is her ear.

I will admit, the man puzzle was a bit challenging. He looks rather stern. To the right you can see the little girl puzzle. I scored several of those. I don't think I got any little boy puzzles, come to think of it. I wonder what that means. It might mean they were ugly puzzles and I just did not want them, I can't remember.

All the little puzzles are in these boxes. And the boxes were in some old briefcases with the instruction books to the test. Unfortunately, (or perhaps, fortunately) I do not have the booklets that told you how to score the tests, so I can't tell anyone how intelligent they might be.

I did get one old metal briefcase but I did not take a photo of it (too incriminating). It's pretty cool. I don't know what I am going to do with it yet but if I alter it I will show it off. And maybe some of this other stuff will eventually make into "them thangs I do" (Should I have named my Etsy store that?? Too late now!)

BTW, if you have not yet figured it out, these are all components of IQ tests, probably from the fifties or sixties. But don't worry if you had not figured that out. I can assure you, as an upstanding member of the general public, it does not reflect poorly on your intelligence, though I should also point out that I am neither licensed nor trained to discern a person's intelligence using any of these tools.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Announcement: It's a Secret

(But do tell everyone you know!)

Last September I got myself together and opened an Etsy shop. I told two people and then I got nervous and shut my mouth! Sometime during the year, I also 'fessed up to Mindy and then I clammed up again. I don't know why (well, I do know why, but I am not airing all my insecurities on my blog!).

Anyway, now I am putting the link on my sidebar and you can check it out. I've been talking to the local camera and photo developing shop for a while about this. It was finally recommended to me to try printing my "things" on metallic photo paper and I have printed a couple of them. They do look good, if I say so myself.


Hopefully inspiration will hit again and I will be able to add more as time goes on. For now, have a look, and if you know anyone who might be interested, please send them the link.


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Still Happy

I want to meet the rats! I've been working now for a month and I have yet to get to go upstairs to where the rats live! School starts Monday so I imagine I will have to wait a while longer before I get up there. Thursday and Friday we dealt with students who could not get into the classes they needed or wanted because it was late registration. I suppose some of them have good reasons for registering late but as the saying goes "Poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part." At least that is the way the saying went when I was working in the sporting goods store and people came in to order customized uniforms about two days before their first game!

It really was not bad, we got everyone situated and no one had a stroke or anything. I'm learning some of the software system as I go, and Friday I accidentally assigned one of the professors to advise herself! We were both very happy that I did it because it meant that we had figured out how to assign advisers, with one teeny tiny adjustment (put the student's name in one of the places where I had put the professor's name--nothin' to it)!

I got a small case of the giggles when two members of the basketball team came in. I was sitting at my desk looking up at them and they had to have been nearly seven feet tall. And one of them was helping the other get permitted into a class that was closed so they would not miss practice time. He had been to the office to see me earlier. They were like two scared little boys on the first day of school.

They say it will be hectic all this next week and maybe into the next one. But I am learning more about how to navigate in the software system to get the information I need and to be able to help students and professors. That feels better than having people coming in asking a thousand questions for which I have no answers!

In other news, my son celebrated two years being clean on Wednesday of last week. I am still so very thankful and proud of the progress he is making.

I want to get myself on a more regular (and interesting!) posting schedule. I'm behind on my own blog reading and commenting so if I have not been around lately it's because I have not had the time to read blogs. I hope to catch up with that tomorrow sometime.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend. . .

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Annie's Psychological Insight for the Day

Last week, I listened as one of the more eccentric faculty members tried to provide directions to someone on the phone for finding the CPU tower on their computer.

For over thirty minutes, the one-sided conversation I heard was an ongoing variation of this:


"Are you sitting at your desk?". . .


"All right, put your hands on your desk. Are your knees under your desk?. . .


"Now, slowly turn your knees and feet to the right. What is the first thing you hit?". . .


"No, not that! That is your power strip."


"Are you sure you are turning to the right? It's about 18 inches tall and maybe 8 inches wide. Run your hand down there."


I am not kidding, they did four or five variations of this conversation and as far as I know, the person on the phone never found her CPU tower.


I wanted to holler from my desk and tell her the CPU tower might be ON her desk rather than UNDER it, but I kept my mouth shut, which was probably a good thing.


Now, two things occur to me:


1) No matter how many times you look, you will probably never find what you are looking for if you keep looking in the same wrong direction.


2) If you have a guide while you're looking for whatever it is you are looking for, the guide's advice is only as good as her vision. If she only chooses to see in one direction, you might not find what you are looking for.


In other news, we got wind and rain from TS Edouard. I don't think he ever even made it to hurricane strength. A lot of the day care centers closed for the day and I believe the Methodists canceled a Bible Study but we at the university had to go to work (which was actually just fine by me--have I mentioned that I love my job?)

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Blah, Blah, Blah

I've had some trouble deciding what I want to write about lately. Actually I have had very little inspiration and when I do get inspired I can't seem to express myself very well.

There have been some spiritual issues, and these two blog posts spoke to me a bit on the subject. The first is written by our former pastor when we lived in Houston,
Sometimes (or, if for some reason you have to copy and paste the link, http://ubcsp.blogspot.com/2008/07/mrs.html). The second post is an excerpt from the book "Wide Open Spaces", written by Jim Palmer (no, not the baseball Jim Palmer!), My Year of Putting Away the Bible (or
http://www.divinenobodies.com/blog/?p=462). The book was very good. Some of you might want to check it out.

I've also been reading a book called "The Case for Religion" by Keith Ward. It is a very interesting book, but it is sometimes hard reading because the author is a scholar from Oxford and sometimes it is hard for me to follow his sentences that tend to feel "backwards" from the way they should be. As a result of reading this book, I am thinking I might see if I can audit a course in religion this semester if I can get approval in time.

In other news, my recently graduated daughter has gotten her first real job! And I can't even tell you what it is she will be doing. Well, I can tell you, but I don't yet understand it well enough to explain it! She is going to work for a non-profit agency and will be spending 20 hours a week working with
CASA volunteers and another 20 hours a week assisting with forensic interviews of children. I'm very excited for her and I think she will do very well in this position.

That is about all I have today.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Me-Me-Me-Meme

Cathy tagged me to do a meme. I am supposed to tell seven things about myself, just seven things. This one does not say anything about telling little known stuff! I'm going to go with this stream of consciousness style and see where it leads. . .

1) I am a curious person who wonders about sometimes oddball things. Tonight as I walking with the dog and waiting for him to do his business, I wonder what the criteria is that makes the perfect spot to do his business. He scopes out two or three spots before he actually makes a choice and does any thing.

2) I have wondered for probably ten years, and have asked lots of people close to my age, about a cartoon I watched when I was young that had a donkey with a big sombrero as one of the characters. At the end of the show, there was a stage coach with a trunk on the back of it and the donkey would pop out of the trunk and say "'saw right". That is all I could remember of the show. A couple of weeks ago, I had dinner with a couple of old friends and I asked them about this as we sat on the porch of Cracker Barrel rocking and visiting. They through a few names out but none of them seemed right. One of them emailed me later and told me who it was. I even found a video of the closing on YouTube.


Here is the link if you care to watch it. For some reason I can't get the video embedded in the post. 3) I always loved watching the wheels on the stage coach adjust to the mountain curves on the ending credits to Quick Draw McGraw.

4) I have lived in the South and was raised on the smell of strong coffee brewing in the mornings. I love that smell but I only started drinking coffee in the last three weeks. The "gateway drug" that started it was those Mocha Java Chillers with an extra shot of Espresso from Sonic. I decided I could not keep on drinking those things and live a long life so I had to break my habit and now I drink real coffee!

5) I'm having trouble coming up with three more things. . .


6) I recently got a brand new washer and dryer from Fisher-Paykel. The dryer is a top load dryer. It has been so weird getting used to it. Plus it is a little deep and if something small gets left in it, I can't reach to the bottom of the dryer to get it. Other than that, I like it a lot. At the same time I was getting my set, Ayekah was also looking for a washer and dryer. She ended up getting the same brand, but not the same model. Hers has a computer screen that says "Your clothes have finished drying. Have a nice day."


7) That reminds me, I really don't like it when people tell me "have a good one". Have a good what? I know, I know, it is just something to say, and it may or may not be a sincere thought. Come to think of it, I also don't like it when people tell me to "have a blessed day". Does that make me a curmudgeon? I just don't like people telling me what kind of day to have!


8) I thought of something else, a bonus, but I forgot what it was. Oh well, y'all have a good and blessed one, ya hear?


(Feel free to play along and let me know so I can go see what I don't know about some of y'all.)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Here's How the First Week Went Down

My first week working for the state government, and the first time I did anything remotely resembling work was Friday (but don't tell anybody!). From what I understand, I will make up for it when the fall semester begins. I am told students will be lined up out the door to see me. I guess that means I will be the first line of defense for the professors??

Anyway, thus far, I love the new job. I did do a few necessary things during the week that qualify as work, I suppose--attended new hire orientation, received my ID (with a terrible picture!), bought a parking pass, learned about the insurance choices I have to make, and the retirement choices that are made for me (we don't participate in social security, we have a state retirement plan), got a key to the "magic kingdom"--the building and the office (but I still need to get my key to the more important "magic kingdom"--the faculty and staff washroom!), and got my email account set up so now it seems I will be good to go.


I cleaned out a cabinet to store office supplies on Friday and got to take home a few things to use for artsy-fartsy projects that were going to be tossed in the dumpster. I'll have to wait for inspiration to hit to see how I am going to use those things.


I also found out that after two years, I can attend classes for a fantastic discount price and I can even take one class and attend during my work day as long as I stay in a few lunch hours to make up the time. I am so excited about that and plan to take advantage of it just as soon as I possibly can! Maybe by the time I retire, I will have a degree! I think it is so great to have the opportunity to attend classes and learn more. I've always regretted that I did not have a better idea of what I wanted to do when I was younger, that I was not committed to getting higher education. Now I have the opportunity to try again. Tonight I am grateful, again, for second chances.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

What Has Been Going On With Me?

Well, I'll tell ya...Tres Finis (or something like that!). It was a long time coming, but I finally spent my last day in the land where they know not what number goes with which month and needed to make reminders on my desk pad...

I was also inspired to clean out my artsy-fartsy room, my studio, my sanctuary, my eldest daughter's room, which had slowly become a junk room. It was in a little bit of an orderly state until this member of the family arrived unannounced and uninvited. She is a curious sort and I am banning her from my room from here on out (and if youngest daughter does not pay more attention to the litter box, I will be banning her--the cat, not the youngest daughter--from the house. Hubby already has two women at the office who will take her).

I have my magic wand from Mindy handy so that I can use it when needed. I will post better pics of the room eventually. All I have right now is my phone camera.

When I left my job Friday, Mama Boss (there were three bosses, Mama Boss, Papa Boss, and Son Boss) had put a moon pie in my purse. I learned from her (among other things, some of them not so pleasant) how delicious moon pies are when heated up in the microwave for about twenty seconds. However, if you watch the marshmallow filling jiggle as you bring it to the table, you might not want to eat very many of them, because you will have in your mind the image of your own body parts jiggling like marshmallow filling!

When I arrived home from my last day of work, there was a box on my doorstep with a little pot in it. What a fitting tribute to the end of my career at the paint and body shop! Thanks Cynthia, for the pot!

It feels good to look at this pot and know that I was finally able to "turn the knob" and make a choice to do what I needed to do for my own sanity.

The complete quote is "If it is dark, it really doesn't help to know that light is on the other side of the door. It is a blessed relief if just one person opens the door a crack for you. Turn the knob."

I just love that quote. Cynthia wrote in a prayer journal at her church. It says so much about hope and light. Sometimes that is all a person needs is just a little crack in the door to help them know they can move from their darkness toward hope and light.

And last, but not least, here is a small thing I did in my journal using one of my calendar doodles. I knew I had this but I did not find it until I did all my cleaning.

Sadly, there are a few other things I have not found yet. One is my "Bird by Bird" book by Anne Lamott. Hopefully it will turn up soon. I try to make good use of the library and keep the number of books I own to a minimum but if this book does not turn up, I will buy a replacement copy. The other thing I can't find is a group of old photos someone sent me as extra stuff in a swap several years back. There was one photo in there that reminded me of myself. I know I stuck those photos somewhere, but so far I have not found them.

This reminds me of another story I could tell of something (trivial) being lost (in my memory) and then being found, but since this seems to be a long post, I think I will save that for another day.

I am woefully behind on my blog reading and hope to catch up this weekend. Seems all my favorite bloggers have had lots to say!

(My apologies for the quality of the photos. My good camera is not here at the moment and these are all phone camera photos.)

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Beginning of the End

Today I gave my two weeks notice. I feel like a heavy burden has been lifted off my shoulders. I feel badly about disappointing them and causing them the trouble of having to find and train someone else, but it was time for me to "get out of Dodge". In the end, they will be all right, and so will I.

If you have some extra time, click on the link to "Postcards From Yo Mama" in my second blog list on my sidebar. Some of those posts are hilarious (and altogether believable)!

I'm trying a new comment feature from Blogger Draft. Please let me know if it is a problem for any of you who comment.

I came across this quote in yet another blog I read faithfully but never comment on. I will have to add it to my links.
"My basic philosophy is one of being well-prepared and exercising the greatest caution but believing that if I have an accident on the trail and end up being food for the vultures, it's better than a nursing home. Rest in peace." --Ralph Ramey
The guy is 79 years old and has written two books on hiking. I'm seeing his quote as a great metaphor for approaching change in life. In the next two weeks, I figure I will be "gnawed on" by the "vultures" at my old job but I also know that I am getting myself off that trail before the gnawing becomes fatal! I've made my choice and I am as well-prepared as I can be to deal with the consequences. That is about the best I can do. And if I start feeling too "gnawed on" then, by golly, I can pick up my backpack and move on down the trail!

I may have put this one up here before, but it seems especially appropriate for a new beginning...









Thursday, June 19, 2008

Time for a Change


I've spent the better part of the last three years learning to decipher this handwriting, and to understand the terminology behind it, but it is time to move on. It has
been time to move on. I just tend to be cautious and slow to act. But when I've had enough, I've had enough and several months ago it became apparent to me that there were some things about my job that were not going to change and I knew it was time for me to leave. I was not entirely sure where I wanted to go or how it would all work out.


I started looking around and went on several interviews for civil service jobs with the state. One thing we all know is that it takes patience to deal with anything the government has its hands in. I'm not trying to be ugly, it's the truth. We all know it! About a month ago I went on an interview at the local university and was told she wanted me for the position. Great excitement ensued, for about three hours. And then she called saying there was a state-wide hiring freeze. She still wanted me but she could not officially offer the job until the freeze was lifted and she did not know when that would be. So I've had to bide my time and wait for a little while and that is never any fun for me, especially when I have no idea how long I have to wait!

To go ahead and get the story told, let me say that she called this week saying she had the okay to fill the position and she still wanted me if I had not found something else. Now it looks like sometime in the next three weeks or so, I will be taking on an administrative assistant's position in the psychology department of the local university. I am very excited about this news and looking forward to the change in environment.

I'm nervous about giving my notice at my present job but I think I will write about that another day.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Penni's Bookish Meme Challenge

Penni, of "Martha, Martha" fame posted an easy meme challenge on her blog this morning. She did not know I happened to have three old books nearby that were snagged (for artsy-fartsy purposes) from the resale shop my sister manages.

Anyway, I'm supposed to go to page 123 and read the fifth sentence on the page and post it here. Here is my odd little snippet:


"Sundry other speeches were made by men of less ability, but developing kindred sentiments and the same anti-republican principles."

From Danger in the Dark, by Isaac Kelso (pub. 1912)

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

"Just Trust the Lord"

(the essay/memory I mentioned earlier that was going to be a Memorial Day post and morphed into something else entirely--perhaps I've been thinking too much lately.)

I never knew my Uncle Wilson. He died in World War II and was buried in France.

The young man who was a friend of Uncle Wilson’s and was with him when he died is still living and has been a part of our family history for many years now. His name is Raymond.

Raymond came to visit my great grandparents after the death of their son. One of the things my great grandfather asked was whether Uncle Wilson had a nice funeral service. Many years later, Raymond told my mother that was the hardest thing he had ever done, to lie and tell that “old man” his son had had a nice funeral service. Conditions were primitive and times were hard. He said they probably just tossed the body into a gravesite and went on. Went on to deal with the living, I would assume.

What luxury for the innocent and na├»ve, who are not even aware of the luxury, to believe the protective lies of wartime burial stories. I’m not saying the lie was wrong, my great grandparents were tender people who needed the sensitivity. My great grandparents were also people of faith.

I’m told my great grandmother spent much time after the death of her son sitting silently and wringing her hands. She eventually suffered a nervous breakdown. There were subsequent problems and time spent in mental hospitals and even a few rounds of electric shock therapy. I was protected from this knowledge as a child growing up.

I did not hear it so much from my great grandmother as I did from my great grandfather, but there was always the general admonition to trust the Lord in all things. Once he told me that when I was dating a fine Christian young man, to “just trust the Lord and seek His will”. I was a bit insulted at the time. I thought I was already doing exactly that, and I expected that things would go well with me as a result. Things did not go well with me on that account; the young man broke up with me and the rejection forever altered the way I saw myself, or maybe it just brought out into the open the secret way I had always seen myself. I don’t really know the answer to that question and it does not really matter. The rejection and not getting my way in the matter, those things hurt.

Fast forward several years and witness the circumstances of my life the past few years as I have spent time worrying over a son with addiction problems. Those things hurt too. I am extremely grateful for the progress my son has made, extremely grateful. There were many times I sat in the darkness and practiced the equivalent meditative wringing of my hands. Those words, “just trust the Lord” would often ring through my ears while I knew my son was out there, somewhere in the darkness of addiction, and I did not know whether he would come home alive, or whether I would be called with news that he had harmed someone while driving under the influence. I did learn to trust, most of the time, but it was a long hard process, and it is never completely learned once and for all.

What I truly learned, from experience--and not from my Sunday school teachers, or my great grandfather’s words, which also echo down to me now from my mother’s mouth--What I truly learned is how I want to react to God at the moment when I am not getting my way from Him or life, when things look totally hopeless. I am not always sure exactly what “just trust the Lord” looks like in my life, but I am sure that I want to trust, no matter how dark things might look.

So one thing I know for sure is that I do not want or need to be told to “just trust the Lord” when it looks like the darkness is going to overcome me. That part of the equation I have already decided and committed to.

It is a hard question, but now I wonder, in her time of maddening grief over her lost son, did my great grandfather whisper to her to just trust the Lord in all these things? Is that not the hard side of faith, to be told to just trust the Lord when it looks and feels as if all your hope is gone?

I think that we as people of faith must be very careful with how we use our words, and how we comfort others in their darkness, because sometimes, in the darkest of nights, being reminded to “just trust the Lord” is a searing, red-hot poker applied to an already seething wound. In those times, maybe the Lord does not need for us to state His case to His hurting child. In those times, maybe the kindest thing we can do is to sit silently with the hurting person. Maybe we can attempt to hold the wringing hands so they won’t feel so alone and helpless. But maybe, just maybe, in those times, the words “just trust the Lord” are words that are best left unsaid.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Old Answers

Heads up folks! I've got a few things on my mind and I am about to reveal some of the contents here!

My muse appeared on the scene a week or so ago and helped me write an essay thingie that I thought was going to be about Memorial Day and the losses of war. It turned out to be something a little different. I will post it later this week.


Then she (my muse) shows up early one morning and we put together another one of "them thangs I do". I'm posting it here today, just to see if it speaks to anyone else (and maybe
what it says to anyone else!). I've got a friend who knows about these kind of things and we disagree on the clarity of this one so I would appreciate your feedback.

That's about all I want to say, because I believe these things, like poetry or a photograph, or drawing, need to speak for themselves. The viewer needs to be free to see or hear whatever they need to hear or see. That can't be controlled by the creator of the piece.

Technicalities

I've had a few people mention the blog list I've added that shows the latest posts as they come through. My lovely friend Mindy helped me get mine going. But you know how, sometimes, a great cook will give one of their recipes, and they will leave out a key ingredient and your cake just does not turn out as good as their, and you can't figure out why?? Well, I'm not sayin' that's what she did, but it sure took a while for me to get my list working correctly! (And I am picking on Mindy, she was excellent help, and even stayed up almost past her bedtime to help me!)

Here's the secret ingredient, the thing you simply
must know (the thing Mindy "forgot" to tell me!): You have to sign in at Blogger in Draft* or you will never be able to put the working list on your blog.

Once you sign in, just go to "layouts" and then click on the "page elements". From there you will click "add page elements" and when the list pops up, look for "my blog list" and select that. Then you follow the prompt and start adding your links. Once you are done, hit "save" and they
should magically appear on your blog (unless I left out a key ingredient!).

My email is not listed below my profile. Let me know if you have any problems and I will try to help. If I can't figure out we will ask Mindy. She knows!

EDITED TO ADD:

*Ooops, my bad! The link to Blogger in Draft does not work. Go to Google and Google something like "blogger draft". You should get to the correct link fairly quickly. I'm in regular "Blogger" now making this post and that may be why I can't get the link to work correctly.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Sunday Ramblings

I just love watching these people do their thing! The movie is now showing in select locations, and my city is not one of them. It is showing an hour away from here...

I've tried to embed the movie trailer here and for some reason the link keeps messing up. Just go check it out. I especially enjoyed meet the singers and the big photo shoot.

I started this post on Saturday and now it is Sunday, and no, I did not make the drive to go see the movie!

Some of you will remember the video of Fred Kippers singing Coldplay's song "Fix You".

Here is an oddball photo I took of my speedometer with my camera phone using their "frames" setting.

You might notice I have added a second blog list. These are blogs that have caught my interest for various reasons, and I read them when I can, but I usually do not comment on them.

Unfortunately, this is about all I have for today. More excitement to come in the next week or so. Probably. There
was something else I was going to say but I have forgotten what it was...

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Philosophy

Not long when I was reading "The Van Gogh Blues" a question came up about a certain philosophical belief. I did as I often do, and wrote to a friend who knows more than I do about this stuff and questioned him. He explained it briefly and suggested I might want to pick up a beginning Philosophy textbook sometime if I thought I'd be interested in pursuing the subject. A few days later I was at the Goodwill store looking for old books that I could use in some of my "thangs I do" when I saw this little stack of textbooks. I could not decide which one I wanted so I splurged and bought them all at .89 each! The one in the middle has my bookmark where I started reading it. When I get done scannning through them for information (or when I get bored with Philosophy talk) I will use some of the pages for artsy-fartsy purposes.

Also, the wire basket the books are in is a sentimental reminder of my days working at the family owned sporting goods store where I worked for sixteen years, all combined. These were gym baskets we sold. When they fell out of regular use we used them to hold extra stock on our shelves. I remembered them from my days before elementary school when we would go to the pool and use them to store our shoes and towels while we swam.

Anyway, I always wanted a few of them, and I intended to ask my boss about them someday, but I never did. He probably would have given me all of them that I wanted, but I just never got around to asking. They had donated a bunch of leftover items to the Goodwill store and the baskets were in the lot of items. They only had two of them and I bought them both for something like .29 each.

I came home from the Goodwill store a happy camper that day.

I set up my photograph not knowing for sure what I was going to put on it. I really like that Thic Naht Hanh quote and in looking at the photo with that quote on it and thinking about different beliefs and philosophies, the words of Christ came to me and I added them to the photo as well.

It's been a while since I done of these "thangs". There are all sorts of reason why I have not done any in a while. Some of them I don't understand myself. But I hope that I am once again opening to the possibilities of more inspiration coming my way.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sunday Afternoon Notes

A cell phone photo with a timely message:
Take time to refresh your spirit.

Notes:

--I added a couple of blogs to my blog roll, and used the Blogger tool to make it where the newest posts and post titles would show up at the top of the list (Thanks, Mindy!). Check some of them out. You might be missing something interesting!

--Some of you expressed curiosity as to why the gator looked like he was shoved in the corner guarding the trash can, stacking chairs and the snack machine. The gator used to stand under the open stairs in the administration building before Hurricane Rita (three years ago this September, I think, I lose track.) This gator was one of the survivors. Several were destroyed by the storm. The school doesn't have the building repairs completed and many of the classes are still being held in temporary buildings. This area is the temporary student lounge area. The main lounge was a free-standing building that was destroyed, and there was another lounge area in the administration building.

There are many people who know exactly how long ago the storm was, as they are still dealing with rebuilding and recuperating. I heard on the radio the other day they are predicting another rough hurricane season. It starts again in June. The good thing about a hurricane is that you get enough advance warning to get away, if you are inclined to do so. That is not always so with tornadoes and floods.

--I am so excited to have the day off tomorrow, don't know exactly what I will do, but I am happy not to be going in to work! This reminds me, I have an idea for a creation in my head and needed to get a photo from my mother's house for it. Maybe that's what I will work on tomorrow!