Saturday, May 25, 2013

Current State of Affairs

In the weekly rumination of "what will I blog" the topics were varied and many, requiring a post on the current State of Affairs as seen from my arm chair in West Texas.

Memorial Day Weekend.  One weekend a year to thank those who sacrifice their lives for our freedom seems weak and yet under the blanket of minimum government funds our citizenry demonstrates their gratitude by stepping forward.  This is just a chip on the iceberg of the organizations that offer help to our returning soldiers and their families:

Oklahoma Tornado.  Crisis enmasse seems to be happening at a fast pace; Sandy Hook,
Boston bombings and most recently the destruction resulting from the EF5 tornado in Moore, Oklahoma.  The huge bureaucracy that is our government moves slowly but surely yet once again our citizenry steps in to fill the gaps.

National groups include:;;
Non-profit organizations include:
 Baptist On Mission Disaster Relief; Missouri based Convoy of Hope; Santa Barbara based Direct Relief; United Methodist Committee on Relief;
 Jewish Federations of North America

It is difficult not to feel pride when we read how often the common people step up and help their neighbor, reach out to offer assistance and take the time to care.  

West Texas remains in drought conditions with no expected change this season.  Water in our area is becoming a limited, expensive commodity. 

We worked through the mysterious illness that affected us all with one trip to the doctor, OTC meds and many hours on the couch.

We've enjoyed two weeks with L. home before he returns to Austin for a summer of class work, lab research and tutoring.  This leaves D. and I to entertain ourselves with summer plans currently limited to a 4th of July visit with D.s family and an August visit with my folks.  

With the summer stretching in front of me I predict a Summer Sewing Extravaganza.

Three dresses are already on the cutting board. Our list of minor home repairs will get some attention and I leave the possibility open to the unexpected, unanticipated adventure.

What is the current State of Affairs looking like from your arm chair?  

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Saturday, May 18, 2013

Transitions: plus black mold, cedar fever, or D. turning the air conditioner too damn low!

Last weekend was spent in Austin moving L. out of the dorm and into a storage unit.  Last year, under some misconceived illusion that a dorm room does not hold much, our moving technique was clumsy at best.

This year we went prepared, like the moving/packing pros we are; boxes pre-collected, packing tape with dispenser, plastic packing wrap (on a roll, available at Wal-mart, never move without it!), large garbage bags, 3 Marks-A-Lot.

A rented U-haul pick-up truck, Extra Closet sized storage unit, one hour in traffic getting back (caught in graduation traffic), two and 1/2 hours packing/loading, 1/2 hour unloading and the deed was done.

L. is home for two, measly weeks then returning to Austin for lab work and to take advantage of the summer course of Inorganic Chemistry.  We met H., who he will be sub-leasing an apartment with, and M., a lovely, young woman L. met in April.  Sophomore year is in the books.

We stayed cheaply (rooms were difficult to come by) but to our good fortune the room had a new heating/cooling unit. This is very important as D. requires the room to be cool/cold and the standard motel room unit rarely has the umph to reach his optimum temperature.  This particular unit blew arctic cold and D. took full advantage.  I share this because come Monday morning we were all sick.

Not just an occasional cough or sniffle sick but a full on; sore throat, hacking cough, sinus headache, chills, achy muscles, multiple Kleenx box running nose, sick.

D. made it to work one and a half days, then two days in bed before an Urgent Care visit, $40 worth of meds and relief by Friday.  I made work all week going through 2 boxes of Vicks infused tissues, (still looking like Rudolph), a box of OTC allergy meds and spreading ill germs throughout the office.  L. slept for three days and made it through with a few doses of antihistamine.

Odd that we were all afflicted at the same time.  There was some black mold in the hotel bathroom but we gave it a pass considering the price point...could that have been a factor?  Austin is known for an allergy, Cedar Fever, that several friends pointed out can manifest in such a way. Allergy season is at an all time high...could this be a factor?  And then, there was sleeping in arctic like temperatures for two nights...could this be a factor!?!  Whatever the cause it provided a dramatic wrap up to a successful weekend and academic year.

What are your 'go-to' remedies for an allergy or cold?

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Sunday, May 5, 2013

Truth Will Out...Online or Off

In a previous post I shared how much I like the online social world, especially the ability to stay connected with L. at school.

L. left for college two years ago and it was admittedly an adjustment.  We are among those that prepared and rationally understood it was time for L. to move out and move on.  We were not prepared for our own emotional adjustment.  This particular upheaval happens to enough parents that it has a name; Empty Nest.

Instead of an occasional phone call or possible letter the Internet allows us to continue to enjoy the conversations of shared interests.  Sending links and talking through messages about what we've read or found remarkable has been a salve for our Empty Nest journey.

One such item L. shared recently is the article, I’m still here: back online after a year without the internet.  The author took a year 'offline' unplugging all electronic devices.  His expectation was to return to the 'real' world and reconnect, something he did experience in the first couple of months.  By the end of the year, though, he came to a much different conclusion.

He discovered that living offline felt as though he had "fell out of sync with the flow of life."  His final assessment was this, "What I do know is that I can't blame the internet, or any circumstance, for my problems. I have many of the same priorities I had before I left the internet: family, friends, work, learning. And I have no guarantee I'll stick with them when I get back on the internet — I probably won't, to be honest. But at least I'll know that it's not the internet's fault. I'll know who's responsible, and who can fix it."  

I encourage you to read the whole article thorough the link on the title above.  I found that he made his point most sharply when talking to his young niece.  He asked if she ever wondered why he didn't Skype with her like she did with her grandparents.  She replied, "I didn't think you wanted to."  

Who you are; your personality, your quirks, your manner, what you value and what you don't is the same in the 'real' world and online.  Connecting with others only happens, online or off, if you make the effort to do it.  

I admire the author's intent and appreciate his insights.  Having come from an age when the 'real' world was all we had I think he is right on target.

I'm a fan of the internet and all the joys and pitfalls that it brings.  There is so much more that needs to be done to make it safer and more secure all while the technology changes at lighting speed but I'm thrilled to be along for the ride.

What are your thoughts about life, online and off?

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