Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Progressing Along

Spring is moving along into summer. The azaleas are passing.

I noticed this unusual tree while bike riding.
It's sweetly aromatic.
I have no idea what it's called. It looks like puffy clouds.
The irises are glowing in sunlight.
 Geraniums are bold and happy by the marina.
I'm making market bags in different colors now -- here's a red one, and I've made a cream one too.
It's good to grow and vary one's goods.
It's the same cotton yarn I use for washcloths and soap pouches.
Julia's art education is progressing nicely. She's learned so much in her weekly art class with the "old people." She enjoys their company, and they encourage her so sweetly. She's wanted to improve her portrait painting skills, so she tried a version of John Singer Sargent's "Madame X."
 I like the face -- not a beautiful woman necessarily, but a real one. I mean that you can read her expression, her attitude, in her face.
Here's the face portion of Sargent's portrait of the famous Parisian woman:
Adam's making progress in is recovery also. He's up on crutches now, trying to do without his walker or wheelchair unless he really needs them. For the first time today he successfully got into the shower (in a chair) and bathed himself. He says you don't realize how nice moisture is on the skin until you have to do without it for a few weeks! Baby wipes get old, and having your hair washed in a basin or sink. His physical therapy visit yesterday was encouraging and helpful; he learned more exercises to do to help strength and mobility, and he bent his knee 30ยบ -- not much, but a start. The doctor's order is to be very cautious because the injury was severe.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Pretty, Pretty ... and Not So Pretty

So many of you enjoyed the azaleas in the last post, I figured I'd better give you more of them before they're gone. Azaleas here in the U.S. South grow large, so I backed up to give you a broader view of them.
They can easily cover the front of a house. We have many hot pink ones.
And some salmon-colored ones. These look more pinky, but they're actually an orange/pink/salmon.
And some pale pink, which are so nice.
And some white, which are so fair in the spring.
We also have some lavender/purple colored ones. I'll hunt up a few more.
All this, while I tootled around town on my bike. In the basket there are a bag of potatoes and some lettuce; I biked to the grocery one morning for them.
Oh! I have a couple more:

There's nothing quite like pedaling along the waterfront on one's bike on a quiet morning while a lone sailboat glides through diamonds.
This is a Very Happy Thing -- a local man is building a treehouse in his yard for his grandkids. He is Julia's art teacher. I know she's secretly hoping she'll be invited to play in it!
Okay, all of that was the FIRST pretty thing. Now we move on to the SECOND pretty thing: I found treasure at the local thrift store! Yes, I did! Looky-here ~~
Yarn and china. Does it get any better than that? What two things do I have oodles of, and don't need anymore of? Yarn and china, of course!
There were two salad plates, two bread plates, and a cup/saucer in this delicate pattern. I fell in love immediately. Ever since being a guest in Mrs. Jean Belz's home and enjoying her lavender flower tea set (or something like that ... lilacs perhaps?), I've been partial to china with little purple flowers.
Brain asked: "Do you need them?"
I answered: "No. But they need me. They need a home. If I leave them here, who knows what china-breaking criminal might come along and snatch them?"
Then I turned a plate over ... yes, it's Haviland.

That black marking tells you that the plate cost $1.
The teacup is light as air, the china is so thin. The gold leaf edges are in excellent condition. I'm thrilled!
As for the yarn, there were five skeins of this: 
And quite a bit of this:
All the yarn together was only $4.75. Yippee!
Alright, we've done two pretty things, and now comes the ugly thing. Adam went for his doctor's visit, and I took photos, so if you don't like a picture of a wounded leg having its staples removed, now is your cue to CLICK AWAY!!
The nurse pulled up his x-ray from that morning on the computer screen. So I took a photo of him taking a photo of a computer screen ... with his iPad. Aren't we silly these days?
He wanted so badly to get a new brace, one that allowed some bending of the knee. But the doctor said no, that the most precarious part of his recovery is the healing of the tendon that runs down the front of the knee. It must be allowed adequate time to heal, without the pressure of bending. If it is damaged again, he said, it would be a chronic (i.e., life-long) problem. "Yes, sir!" we replied.
Then a nurse came in with a funny little device and crimped each staple and removed them all. Adam said he didn't feel anything. {{{shiver}}}
He starts physical therapy next Tuesday. He goes back to the doctor in a month. He's still so easily exhausted, which tells you how hard his body is working to heal.
It was lunch time, and we were an hour and a half from home, so Adam chose a watering hole for lunch called Moe's Southwest Grill, a Tex-Mex place where the meals are assembled much like at a Subway sandwich shop. It was fun! Qdoba is like this also.

We each got a burrito bowl, basically the ingredients of a large burrito, without the tortilla. I love tortilla chips, but I'm not a fan of one big tortilla.
It was very good, and huge. I ate half and took the rest home for dinner -- so, two meals for the price of one. I firmly believe the best way to lose weight is simply this: learn how to tell yourself NO when your tummy begins to feel full. If we all did this, no one would be fat. Somehow, we think it's better to say, "I'm never eating bread again!" instead of, "I'll eat one piece and stop for now." Why is that?
Chips and salsa come with each meal, which is nice. I also took most of the chips and the queso home for Julia to enjoy later.
And today, after a long morning at the farmers' market, I'm enjoying a cuppa in my new teacup.
You should have some too!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Cuteness in Oriental

After that long, frigid winter, I think now we can officially say spring is here in all her glory. Pink blooms peeking through a white picket fence is cute!!
Some of our hardwood trees were hesitant to participate, afraid they'd get knocked back by one last freezing night. Even they are now convinced. The azaleas are happy!
We have the best across-the-street neighbor. She's a True Yard Lady, which means we always have something nice to look at. Her little home exudes cuteness and tidiness. She recently painted those shutters yellow, just in time for spring.
I know you can't tell, but this sycamore tree down the road is such a beautiful specimen! It's mottled white trunk shines, its crinkly branches in sharp relief against the pellucid sky, and now its leaves a glimmer of lime green.

Adam and I went for a stroll yesterday evening. It was his birthday, a rather low-key birthday. He hasn't been sleeping well with his leg in a brace, and he's just plain tired. He's used to sleeping very well every night (a phenomenon I can't even begin to wish for!), so this is difficult for him.
We passed the local sea monster. Oh ... didn't I mention that we have sea monsters in our yards?
Down at the Wildlife Ramp, a young man on a sunfish was just coming in.
He loaded his sunfish onto a little trailer all by himself and proceeded to haul it down the street to wherever his vehicle is parked. In Oriental, it's not unusual to see a person pulling a boat down the street.
We enjoyed sunset on the water.
I'll end with this tiny car. It's not a Thing (a funky car from my teen years). It's not a golf cart, I don't think. Don't know what it is ... but it's cuteness!
And its owners know the right spirit for such a car, in such a boat yard, in such a fun-loving town.
Yee Haa!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Uncomfortable Topic

I don't relish covering uncomfortable topics on my blog. Often I pass them by, letting other bloggers deal with the ugly side of life. Who wants to hear about ugly?
Then I read this article on facebook the other day. And I couldn't quite get it out of my head. It's an article about pedophiles and how they engage in church life and prey on children there. I post the link here for you to read it, but please -- the article does have descriptions that are uncomfortable, and I want to warn you before you click over.
I hesitated writing this post. Why write about something so ugly? Is there anything uglier than pedophilia? It feels filthy even to speak of it. Thus we are silent.
This silence is part of the secrecy that allows pedophilia to fester in the shadows. I read the statistics in that article:  25% of females were sexually abused as children. One in four! One in seven men were. The writer says these stats are consistent in all venues where he goes to speak. 50% of his audiences were either sexually abused themselves as children or knew of a close family member who was.

I asked myself: how many women do I know who were sexually abused as children? I wracked my brain and could come up with only four -- four, out of all the hundreds, perhaps a thousand women I've met and known in my fifty years. Only four? It's impossible. By the stats in the article, several hundred women I've known were molested. But I'm only aware of four, because abuse like that is horribly secret. It's the nasty thing you never tell. So I have friends, probably very good friends, who have this ugly, terrifying thing hidden inside all their lives, afraid to tell. Only four of my friends were bold enough to say anything, and even they did not all say it publicly, for everyone to hear. But they told me.
The secrecy is killing us. Sexual abuse is killing the church, ruining our witness of love and kindness, damaging Jesus's kingdom, and emotionally killing thousands of children who come to Jesus's church for care and protection. Instead they find a horror that engulfs and destroys them. What a lie!
Pedophiles are drawn to the church because they know it's an environment where children are taught to trust, where church members try to live dependently on one another, where volunteers are needed for kids' programs, where it's a sign of love and acceptance to trust another adult with your children. There are dozens of reasons why an average church is a perfect breeding ground for pedophilia to thrive. Even when reported and discovered, abuse is often hushed-up, and children are damaged more when they realize that telling someone only made it worse. Why aren't churches more vigilant?
This should be a zero-tolerance subject. As the article says, pedophiles should have absolutely no part in a church where any children are present. They should worship only with adults. Churches should do background checks diligently. It's horrible to have an attitude of distrust in the church, but more horrible still is the wrecking of children's hearts and lives that occurs when proper diligence is not exercised in their protection.
I'll end with one observation: sexual perversion and abuse is a direct result of pornography. We all know this is true. And if pedophilia is one topic no one cares to speak of in the church, porn addiction is the second. Satan knows exactly how to cause God's men to fall and destroy their lives; all it takes is temptation to this sin. It was true in the ancient times when Israelite men were lured away to sexual worship activities with pagan women. Israel's enemies were told this was the simplest way to defeat the nation. You don't need an army; you don't need a mighty prophet; all you need is sexual sin. It infiltrates like a disease and kills God's people from the inside. The men are ashamed, and the women (I'm sorry to say) are silent.
Until the church deals openly and aggressively with the porn issues among its men, its pastors, its elders, the sexual sins won't go away. The pedophilia won't go away. The scandals won't go away. I'm weary of the silence and the destruction is fosters.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Easter Praise!

"How shall we who died to sin still live in it? Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin." (Rom. 6) 
He is indeed risen, and because His dead body came to life,
I believe my dying body will be alive for eternity.
Thank you, Lord Jesus!

Longing for the Bookish Past

Rain and wind drive up our street today. It's a bookish day. I snuggle into the couch blankets with The Plot Against Pepys, a cup of tea, and  Pomeranian.

A few paragraphs in, my mind fails to engage fully; my mind wanders. I'm not paying attention to the text. I used to read for hours when I was younger. How did I do it?

I don't read enough. My laptop distracts me, derails my activities and intentions, and occupies hours each day. It's bad. I know it's bad because hours on my laptop leave me feeling deflated, anxious, and weary.

But an hour spent sinking my thoughts into a good book leaves me feeling satisfied and calm inside. I miss that.

I don't read e-books. That's not my personal online poison. I just fiddle, flitting among Facebook, Pinterest, Google mail, the weather forecast, and my feed reader. Like a butterfly unable to settle, I go from empty flower to empty flower, hoping for a hit. After exhausting all my sources, at last I snap my computer shut. My brain is tired, bored, vacant. It hasn't been fed by the online experience; it's been sapped.

I remember thirty years ago, before personal computers of any kind, before cell phones, before my parents owned a microwave (ha!). I miss those days and don't apologize for it. Life was a slower pace, but more importantly our minds walked a slower pace and were given the luxury of time to absorb and process information. No flitting. No multi-tasking (or, multi-failing, as I've heard it called).

When I picked up The Plot Against Pepys this morning, I found it hard reading at first. The book is well-written, engaging, beautifully paced. The fault is not in the book but in my brain. I've trained it to sit lightly on the flowers I give it, to nibble a crumb from each spoonful and move on to the next. My brain is weak, unable to consume and digest meaningful volumes of text.

I'm changing that. I can't blame age, nor a busy home, nor little children, nor work. I blame myself for my habits. I won't give up my blogging or my connection with friends online, but I will control my feeding habits there. The satisfying bookishness of the past is a pleasure I will afford myself once again.