Voting With The Presbyterians: A Conversation About How To Get There

IN THE PAST

ONCE AGAIN OUR VOTING PRECINCT has been assigned to a different polling place. In the 20+ years we’ve lived in this community we’ve voted at:

  • the VFW Hall [smoke-filled with parking in a field used for their monthly turkey shoot];
  • the Country Club [time-consuming with parking at nearby Methodist Church, involved a shuttle bus taking us to the country club’s front door and then back to our cars];
  • the Elementary School [smelled like chicken sandwiches, had limited parking but nice landscaping to look at while waiting for a space];
  • the Non-denominational Christian Church [easy ingress and egress, adequate flat parking, short walk to front doors, only there one year];
  • the Greek Orthodox Church [difficult ingress and egress, limited parking on uneven sloped lot, many shiny gilded-gold objects inside building];  and
  • the Presbyterian Church [no deets yet].

BUT FOR TODAY

HIM: Where am I voting today?

ME: With the Presbyterians.

HIM: Which Presbyterians? The ones near us or the other ones?

ME: The ones near us. The ones who were hidden down the lane.

HIM: They’re not on the lane anymore?

ME: No, they’re in the same place on the lane but they’ve built a big driveway to the road, so that’s how you get to them now. They have a big welcome sign on the road.

HIM: How do I get there?

ME: Go down the road past the street that takes you to the United Methodists, but not so far as to make that sharp right turn into the Roman Catholics. And for goodness sake don’t go around the curve and make a right into the Bible Believers Baptist Church compound. Who knows what weirdness is behind the bunker they’ve built around that building.

HIM: OK. So where do I turn to get to the Presbyterians?

ME: It’s easy. When you see the big welcome sign on the left, turn left, and you’ll be in the right place.

HIM: Are you telling me directions to the polling place or voting advice?

ME: Both, I guess. Get on the road, go left, and you won’t go wrong! 😉

HAPPY ELECTION DAY

May you find your polling place without trouble. May you say *yes* to the school levies and mental health issues and support for the less fortunate. And for the love of all that is good and holy, I beg of you, may you dump the Trumpian chumps.

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Talking To Myself: Evidence Of Impending Decrepitude Or Productivity Hack?

Oh the brain, she be tired and easily distracted.

Like the pre-old person I am.

You see, last week I was in a productive mood.  I was busy, but not overwhelmed.  Happy, but not dippy.  Energetic, but not the most organized I’ve ever been.

Thus it came to be at one point in the late afternoon, while I was whirling around the house, doing the things, thinking the important blogging thoughts, that I realized I’d forgotten what I was doing.

Completely forgot.

Just standing there in the middle of the room, immobile. Alone, no one else around to give me a prompt.

*Humph*

Thus as a way of getting myself back on track I said out loud to myself:

“Do the thing you were supposed to be doing when you realized that you hadn’t done the thing you were supposed to have done and stopped to do that thing.”

And guess what?

I listened to myself, did what I said I should do, and got back in the groove, because apparently when it comes to keeping the productivity choo-choo train on the track I need to use convoluted sentences to communicate with myself.

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Questions Of The Day

Had any good conversations with yourself lately? Did you listen to yourself? And how’d that work out for you?

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Purple Dahlias: Musings While Looking At Said On A Tuesday Morning

April showers. May flowers.

Hello green grass. Howdy to this purple dahlia [that looks pink to me].

Regardless of its color I like it because it’s growing and budding and flowering.

Doing that which I like to see.

Both when it comes to gardening and when it comes to people. No one wants to be around someone who isn’t learning new things.

Or at least, among the people who I know and respect, that’s the way it is.

You live, you learn, you grow.

And then you remind yourself to encourage other people to bloom where they’re planted, too.

A simple saying, perhaps trite, but based on a truth.

An approach to life that lends itself to contentment and invites balance. Inspires joy, I have found.

Clear mind, happy heart.

My thoughts for this pleasant spring day. What’s up with you?

A Quandary Regarding Mental Health + Tattoos + Modern Etiquette

“NAMI is the National Alliance on Mental Illness. We are the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.”

Thanks to the efforts of NAMI it’s Mental Illness Awareness Week here in the USA. This year’s theme is #CureStigma. 

In light of this theme here’s something I’ve been thinking about. I’m unclear about what I should do when I’m in situations like the following one.

I was at a doctor’s office, in the examining room, with a medical assistant who was settling me onto the examining table, getting things ready for the doc.

When she reached across me to grab the blood pressure cuff I noticed that she had a tattoo on her inside left wrist.  What caught my eye was that the tattoo was of a semicolon.

As you probably know, that is the tat one gets when you have, or someone you love has, engaged in self-harming behaviors;  OR when you or a loved one have attempted to commit, or possibly in the case of a loved one succeeded in committing, suicide.

[More on the semicolon tattoo meaning here and here.]

In general I’ve found that people with visible tattoos seem pleased when you notice the tattoo.  They often have a story to tell about their tattoos and I’m willing to listen.

However, in this particular case I was reluctant to say anything, so I said nothing and just smiled like I didn’t know what I was seeing.

So my questions are:

  • Would you consider a visible semicolon tattoo to be an invitation for conversation about what it means to the person with this tattoo?
  • Or would you not say a word about it unless the person with the tattoo brings up the topic?

Anyone got any experience with or advice about how to handle this type of situation? I feel like there might be some kind of modern etiquette involved here, but I don’t know what it is.

Trashapalooza: Living Large With Two Paper Shredders

Stop calling, we have a winner for the most boring Project ever.

• • •

Welp, I’m back.

And living in a house that has not one, but two, electric paper shredders in it.

Try not to be jealous.

You see, last week when the ungodly hot and humid heat wave hit our region, I was in need of a project to keep me entertained + cool.  Zen-Den had the week off so he was wandering around the house, in need of something to do.

Hence it came to be that we decided to go into our unfinished, but cold, basement and start doing something we should have done years decades ago. Yes, we bravely opened the drawers in the many filing cabinets down there and sorted through the documents contained therein.

Meaning that we found: bills and checks and insurance documents and warranty information and furniture sales receipts dating back to the early ’90s and… in what was the biggest surprise to me… all of my late mother’s federal and state income tax filings going back to 1984.

[She’s been gone 22 years.  I was executrix of her estate.  I thought I’d destroyed all of her documents before we moved here in ’99, but obviously I had not.]

Anyhoo, in the process of going through all of these documents we decided to invest in a second shredder so that Zen-Den could sort through files while I shredded the paper, feeding both shredders simultaneously like a champ, to keep things moving along at a fast pace.

And to keep life interesting.

Or as interesting as it can be, under the circumstances, while sitting in a dusty basement being responsible adults, shredding our past, for hours on end.

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Question of the Day

What’s your most boring project ever? Did you put it off for decades? Were you compelled to do it because of lousy weather?

Be The Light: Of Washing Machines & The Retirement Scene

I’ve joined in a yearlong monthly event called We Are The World Blogfest.  

The purpose of this event is to highlight positive news stories, presenting them on your blog on the last Friday of the month.

This being the last Friday of February, I have a positive story to share with you, my gentle readers. 

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THE NEWS STORY:  

Lee Maxwell, a retired electrical engineering professor who lives in Colorado, collects washing machines.  His washing machine collection, stored in two warehouses, consists of nearly 1,500 machines.

Maxwell, age 87, finds the machines all over the United States.  They’re usually in disrepair.  He gets the machines to his warehouses where he repairs them, and stores them.

He has what is believed to be one of the largest personal collections of anything in the U.S.A.  His hope is that someone, a benefactor, will build a museum dedicated to washing machines so that everyone can see for themselves how washing machines have changed over the years.

[Complete story with video: Washing machine collector takes a whirl back in time]

* * *

* * *

MY COMMENTARY:

This story is a quirky happy news story that makes me appreciate people who follow their own muses.

What’s not to love?

A retiree finds a hobby, that turns into a passion, that ends up preserving pieces of history that are easy to overlook.  And suddenly there’s a collection worthy of note because someone, Maxwell, took the time to notice.

I give props to this man.  He didn’t start collecting washing machines to be a news story.  No, he just did it for something fun to do, and in the process saved an interesting part of American history.

I consider him an inspiration.  Think about it, when it’s time to retire we all should be so fortunate as to stumble upon a hobby that takes us down uncharted roads, while filling our hours with a quiet sense of accomplishment.

* * *

A Glimpse Into A Blogger’s Idea Generation Process, Such As It Is

I’m a writer who writes a personal blog in which I talk about a variety of topics.

Make no mistake about that.

As such, I have a drawer in my desk where I toss pieces of paper on which I’ve written thoughts + scribblings + quotes that come to me when I’m not in a place to write about these thoughts + scribblings + quotes.

I do this randomly, both the thinking and the tossing.

This drawer, you see, is my idea generation process system based on one piece of wisdom in David Allen’s Getting Things Done.  He tells you to capture ideas.

Well, I’m capturing them.

In my own way.

Then a few times a year I sort through the pieces of paper with the aforementioned thoughts + scribblings + quotes on them, to see what I might write about here on these hallowed virtual pages.

 Yesterday I reacquainted myself with what I’ve carefully saved in this drawer.  

In reality, about 60% of what I saved I tossed out because I have no idea what I was thinking about when I saved the thought + scribbling + quote.

The brain, she be addled.

Another 30% of my thoughts + scribblings + quotes were good blog post fodder, but I wasn’t in the mood to do what it takes [research, personal reflection, finding an image] to write a coherent blog post about the topic.

So those thoughts + scribblings + quotes went back into the drawer, safely nestled among their own kind, until I’m ready to write about them sometime in the future.

Trust me, there are advantages of being a blogger whose blog leans more toward lifestyle newspaper column than daily diary. Plus, not to put too fine of a point on it, variety fights inertia, random is what keeps this blog going.

That left me with 10% of my thoughts + scribblings + quotes that I’ll turn them into exciting world-class blog posts such as this one.

All of which [finally] brings me to my actual reason for writing this post.

In my more anxious moments I wonder if there might be a better way for me to capture and generate ideas.  A way that doesn’t rely on my current idiosyncratic, neatniks-need-not-apply idea generation process, as seen in the photo below.

• • •

So tell me, gentle readers, how do you keep track of the ideas that you use to write your blog posts?

‘Tis possible that I could use some guidance.

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