Sunday, April 28, 2013

Being Social Online

Part of my daily ritual is checking Facebook to see who is doing what.  During the week I check in the evening after the meal is over, dishes are done and that moment of finally sitting down in my preferred Barcalounger and relaxing, has come.

On the weekend I check in the morning.  Early, as routine is hard to break, but before the chores of the day require attention.

The morning still new, the house still quiet, a fresh brewed cup of coffee on the end table, the laptop on...well, my lap and I open up to see who has reported doing what, on Facebook.

We live in the generation that saw the birth of social media and continue to experience the growing pains.  What is put online is there, in some form, forever.  Understanding what that means and putting in place safeguards and laws is taking time.

My personal observations support that those who are social in nature likely make the most use of online socializing.  Those, not so much, read what others are doing but don't post as much of their own activities.

In April, 1992 D. was working on his Ph.D. at Southern Seminary.   He went to Oxford, England for eight weeks to do his required outside studies. International phone calls were expensive so we planned for a weekly day and time to talk . . . for ten minutes . . . and we mailed letters.

That seems like the dark ages.

Email was just on the horizon but had yet to make it into every home in the neighborhood.  Online was so close yet unavailable to us during this eight week time slot.

That I communicate regularly over Facebook with L, recalling those long, lonely eight weeks, makes me appreciate so much that I am here to participate in this technological age.

I am a social being, online and off, and I look forward to whatever technology will bring. Yes, there is always bad with the good but what would you choose to leave that we know?

What memories do you have that bridge this technological divide?

Google Images:

Sunday, April 21, 2013

One Week In April

The technology that allowed authorities to find two unknown criminals out of a crowd of thousands is the same technology that allows us to share in the tragedy and grief and moment by moment expressions from horror to resolution of any world event.

This week in April I have wept, watching with the world as Boston suffered and triumphed over those who felt compelled to share their pain and confusion through violent means.

I have wept watching fellow Texans in the town of West sift through the remains of their community following a chemical fertilizer plant explosion that has torn them apart.

This morning I wept over the news reviews and the overwhelming examples of heroes that, in both tragedies, stepped up to help.  The stories of those individuals that ran into the smoke, into the fire with the thought of helping someone in need.

I wait and listen for these stories, the ones of heroism and selflessness that keep my heart from turning hard and brittle over the senseless brutality a few inflict on so many.

We live in a hurt and broken world but the light shines brightest in the darkest hours.  My prayers go out to all those who were touched by the darkness and also to those who let the light shine in and through them when the light is needed most.

These are other everyday heroics that have filled my heart with light:

We The People


Who Do You Love?

Where Were You?

Thankless Jobs Recognized

Grace of the Common People

Google images:

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Weather You Do Weather You Don't

D. steps in from the backyard, "It is beautiful outside right now, cool with a slight breeze."  He picks up his coffee mug and steps back out.  I hop over to my waiting mug of steaming java, hot on his heels.

The Panhandle of Texas is a wonderfully sunny place.  In the thirteen years I have lived here we've been in drought conditions, reaching severe status the past two years.  The heat of a West Texas summer can be stifling.  It is April and we've already reached 90 degrees, a portent of things to come?  Likely.  A cool morning is something to be savored and enjoyed (as I sit typing :)

This early morning conversation brought to mind how often I speak of the weather.  Every morning while getting ready for work the morning show drones in the background until the music that signals the weather report.  (Indeed, our local station has a specific melody that signals the weather report to come.)  I stop and watch to see what the weather will be like for the day.

I've grew up in a dairy farming community where the weather report was essential for the livelihood of the household and overall region. I didn't pay particular attention at that age but I was aware of the adults discussing what the weather would mean for crops, animals and bank loans.

The weather talk around here is much the same as the cotton crop is our economic engine and the weather can make or break a cotton growing season.  The cotton yield does not draw my personal interest but the weather still plays a prominent role in my daily conversation.

Socially, weather is a generic, generally successful conversation starter.  It is the go-to topic for that awkward moment when you are waiting with people you do not know.  It has enough legs to get you through the ride; until the bus arrives or the doors open.

The daily weather report guides what I will wear.  Particularly in the spring and fall when the morning and afternoon temperatures can be quite varied successful clothing layers make for optimum comfort throughout the day.

Plus, I just like to know because there will be that awkward moment when I'm standing with people, waiting, and weather will come to the conversational rescue.

Do you share my weather views?  What is your 'go-to' conversation starter?

Google images:

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Where Do We Go From Here?

Last weekend I was out of my blogging pocket (so to speak). We had family in to help move my father-in-law into a senior apartment complex.

The Easter weekend being his move-in date provided a double reason to enjoy family.  We had 7 that arrived over Thursday night and Friday morning which made the move quick and efficient.

The remainder of the weekend was spent enjoying each other's company and rejoicing in our resurrected Lord.  He is risen!  He is risen indeed!!

The main focus of this particular post is the facility we moved H. into.  It is a government subsidized housing complex that caters to the elderly on a fixed income.  Their rent is figured on their current income and will be adjusted to reflect any changes, if necessary.

I am a supporter of the American ideal and way of living but government housing
has a reputation of lacking in funds leading to dinghy, poorly kept, badly run facilities.  Being familiar with the area of this particular complex I figured it wouldn't be too bad.

Let me pause at this point and share that "we the people" are the government.  As a citizen of the United States our established government that is 'of the people, by the people and for the people' is me.

If I recognize that a particular area of concern needs attention it is as much my responsibility to put foot to pavement, pen to paper and/or be willing to pay the taxes necessary to see these concerns are funded and maintained.

The knowledge of the state of government facilities is not so much a complaint as much as it is an understood fact...that can be misunderstood.

Although D. and I helped H. with the initial paperwork all the footwork was his own.  We had not visited the facility nor met any of the people who worked there.  We understood that they were painting the apartment to prepare it for the next tenant which set his move in date on Good Friday.

A stereotype exists because it has validity.  There are some government facilities that are grossly underfunded or mismanaged but this senior apartment complex in our town is not one of those.

The apartment was painted properly, freshly cleaned and ready for occupancy.  Although the cabinets and appliances had seen some wear they had been maintained.  The patchwork of flowers, bright green grass, groomed and neglected patches of yard out the front and back of each unit allowed for every tenant to make their space their own.

The most surprising room was the laundry.  Those familiar with a public laundry are aware of the man power and upkeep necessary to keep the machines running and the area clean.  Most fail to achieve my personal, minimum level of cleanliness but this laundry room was a shiny, sparkling example of excellent complex management.

It's reassuring that H. has a nice place to live.  It does bring into sharp contrast the aging of our population (and me!) and how important these facilities will become.  I'm ashamed to say because of my advancing age the subject of senior facilities and their condition are now crossing my mind.  My foot to pavement and pen to paper may not be that far away.

What has been your experience with aging?

Google images: