Random (but not really)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Word Association: Anniversary Edition

Fourteen years ago today, Michael and I were married. If given the choice, I’d totally do it all over again.

Today’s word is: patient

Written by Michelle at 6:00 am      Comments (6)  Permalink
Categories: Fun & Games  

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Gotta Keep the Devil, Way Down in the Hole

(So, apparently a customization I made to my template keeps me from embedding YouTube videos. I’d tried to embed The Blind Boys of Alabama “Way Down in the Hole”. Now you can’t listen to it while you read this.)

Thursday evening, we learned that Mr Brown had died.

Mr Bill and Ms Helen were Grandmom’s neighbors, and the reason she was able to live on her own for as long as she did. Ms Helen took Grandmom to the grocery story. Mr Bill took care of Grandmom’s lawn and took care of her trash cans. Both of them checked on her every day, to make sure she was okay, and got her mail when she was out of town.

Mr Bill had been battling cancer for years now, so this was not an unexpected death; we were told his grandkids had come to visit that day.

It doesn’t seem fair that such kind and generous people should have had to deal with such pain, but, as the saying goes, life is pain.

Last Tuesday (a week ago today), I had my happy doctor appointment.

The short of it is that we doubled my anti-depressant. We’ve left my anxiety meds as they are for now, and he added in a medicine that is supposed to alleviate some of the side effects of the anti-depressant (grinding my teeth and vivid dreams).

The subject of lithium came up as well.

And not for the first time.

This feels like such a damned failure to me; I’ve spent the week ignoring this change, and refusing to talk about it (but I have been taking my meds) but not talking about it doesn’t change the fact that I’m not getting better.

Sometimes I feel like the only thing that keeps me going is guilt: it’s my responsibility not to be a burden on those around me, so I have to get out of bed. I have to go to work. I have to do the things that normal people do, because it’s not fair for me to cause other people difficulty.

But I don’t think that getting up every day because of guilt really qualifies as living. I mean, it’s better than the other options, but it’s not a very joyful of existence.

Not that the depression allows me to believe I’m worthy of joy, but I just tell my brain to shut the fuck up and move on.

I don’t actually have a moral or an ending to this. I wish I had an ending to this. I wish one day I could wake up and be a normal person with a normal brain, but that’s not in the cards.

So for now, telling my brain STFU and moving on is what I’m doing and how I’m doing.

Written by Michelle at 9:16 pm      Comments (7)  Permalink
Categories: Depression  

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

WWA: Thanksgiving Edition

This week, please tell me what you’re thankful for! You’re free to come back multiple times.

I’m thankful for: Michael

Written by Michelle at 7:05 am      Comments (12)  Permalink
Categories: Fun & Games  

Monday, November 19, 2012

Weekend Travels: Ruins of St. John’s Episcopal Church at Harpers Ferry

As I said earlier, I spent a lot of time walking around and photographing the ruins of St. John’s Episcopal Church at Harpers Ferry.

The church was used as a barracks and a hospital during the Civil War, and was damaged at that time. Although the church was rebuilt, it was soon abandoned after a new church was built, leaving these remains on the hill.

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Facing north, from below the ruins. ^

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Facing WSW, looking in through one of the doors. ^

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Facing ENE, taken from the hill behind the ruins. ^

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Facing east, looking into the ruins from behind. ^

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Facing southwest, from inside the ruins. ^

I took a lot more pictures, many of which are on my Flickr stream.

Written by Michelle at 6:00 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Photos,Travel,Writing  

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sunday Nature Pr0n: Harpers Ferry

Almost no flowers this time of year, but Harpers Ferry still had some fall color.

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I also found some interesting rocks:

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And of course I found water.

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Written by Michelle at 3:07 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Photos,West Virginia  

Weekend Travels: Harpers Ferry

This weekend we drove to Harpers Ferry.

For those of you not familiar with American History and/or the Civil War, Harpers Ferry is where John Brown seized the US Armory and Arsenal that was one of the events that brought the issue of slavery to, perhaps, a boil.

Of course, other things happened in Harpers Ferry, and the Appalachian Trail cuts through Harpers Ferry.

This is the building where John Brown and his group holed up. However, this is not the original location–the building has been moved multiple times, including, at one point, to Chicago.

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Facing west.

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Facing east, towards the Potomac River.

This monument marks the original location of the building.

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The national park has images from the time of the Civil War posted about the city/park, and the fact this building was moved made it hard–initially–to orient the current city to what was in the pictures.

The fact that the two arsenals are ruins now, but were in the pictures, made it even more confusing to me.

But I eventually figured it out.

There are a LOT of ruins around Harpers Ferry. The ruins of St. John’s Episcopal Church particularly fascinated me, and I spent a lot of time wandering around them taking pictures. Enough pictures they’ll be a separate post.

Arsenal ruins: the park has signs with a picture showing the archeological dig of the foundation. The ground level here is about three feet higher than when the building was built.

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Virginius Island is an abandoned area. There are ruins there of a water powered cotton mill and other water-operated machinery.

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Ruins of bridge footers across the Potomac River.

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Ruins of bridge footers across the Shenandoah River.

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Stone stairs (here’s a picture that might give you a better idea of the steepness of the stairs.)

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It was a gorgeous day, and the advantage of going in November, is there weren’t huge crowds of people.

Written by Michelle at 11:15 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: History,Photos,Travel,West Virginia  

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

WWA: Missed Birthdays Edition

Today would have been Grandmom’s 95th birthday, but would also have been the birthday of my friend Wendy. Both Grandmom and Wendy died last year, so this is the second year we have to celebrate their birthdays without them.

Today’s word is: love

Written by Michelle at 6:00 am      Comments (4)  Permalink
Categories: Fun & Games  

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tasty Tuesday: Apple Crisp

I’m finally getting around to using at least some of the apples we got. An apple crisp looked fast and easy–and more importantly–delicious.

Apple Crisp
1/2 cup flour, all-purpose
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup sugar
5 tablespoons butter, unsalted
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
6 medium apples

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Butter 2 qt baking dish.

Melt the butter. Stir together flour, oats, walnuts, and 1/2 cup sugar. Mix in the melted butter for the topping.

Stir together 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon.

Quarter and core apples, then chop quarters into four to six more pieces. I am lazy, so I never peel apples.

Apple Crisp

Mix together sugar-cinnamon mixture, apples, and orange juice, and pour into baking dish. Sprinkle on topping.

Apple Crisp

Bake at 350 for 75 to 90 minutes.

Apple Crisp

Yum!

Modified from Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts by Alice Medrich

Written by Michelle at 6:00 am      Comments (1)  Permalink
Categories: Food  

Monday, November 12, 2012

Around Town

Pictures from the South High Street cemetery as well as main campus, taken Saturday and Sunday.

Tree in the setting sun.

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Sycamore in front of E Moore Hall. I am very fond of this old tree.

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I can’t help it. I’m obsessed with reflections.

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I’m surprised this butterfly could actually fly, as there were gaping holes worn in its wings.

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Written by Michelle at 4:56 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Morgantown,Photos  

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Then What the Hell’s the Presidency for?

When the presidency has come up, I’ve half jokingly commented that I’ve got problems with President Obama–he’s not liberal enough for me.

That’s actually pretty close to the truth.

This morning I listened to an interview with Robert Caro that crystallized those feelings, yet also made me feel better about the steps the president has made with the Affordable Care Act.

Robert Caro talked about President Johnson, in the hours and days after President Kennedy was assassinated, determining what he would do with the presidency.

His advisers were telling him to forget Civil Rights, that to put Civil Rights would be a waste of political capital and goodwill, to which Johnson replied,

“Then what the hell’s the presidency for?”

If those in office do not look out for the poor and the powerless, then they are wasting their time and wasting their power.

The President has the ability to being issues to the attention of the public. The President has what Theodore Roosevelt called the “Bully Pulpit“.

Please note that the definition of “bully” has changed significantly since TR’s time. President Roosevelt meant it as something excellent. He was referring to the wonderful opportunity presidents have to set the agenda, to inform the American people of issues that need to be addressed.

Theodore Roosevelt used his bully pulpit to create the National Parks System (something for which I am grateful.)

Franklin Roosevelt used his bully pulpit to draw the United States into World War II, to pull the American economy out of the Great Depression, and to put in place a social security system that would keep older Americans from ending their lives destitute.

Eisenhower created the US Interstate System.

John F. Kennedy put a man on the moon.

Lyndon Johnson helped pass Civil Rights legislation.

The things these men created and the laws they passed are public goods–they were created to make the United States–and the world–a better place.

Which brings us to President Obama.

As a liberal, my biggest concern is for the American people–especially for those who through no fault of their own have ended up in a hand-to-mouth existence.

Despite being a godless liberal, I believe that religion (all major religions) tell us as Americans (and humans) how to treat each other.

‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[a] you did it to me.’

–Matthew 25:34-40

Feel free to tithe to your church, but that doesn’t get you out of caring for the rest of the sick, poor and needy in the US–the ones who aren’t part of your church, or are not part of the small group of people your religious group helps.

…he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii[c] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

–Luke 10:30-37

I have little use for organized religion, but I do believe religious teachings can be guides for how we should treat each other.

I believe that treating others well, and caring for those in need, is the foundation for why we have government.

Which brings me back around to what the presidency is for.

I believe that unlike Congress, which exists to look after the needs of citizens of the states they represent, the President should look after the needs of the entire US population–and of primary concern should be the needs of the poor and the powerless.

My desire is for the President to take a stand on issues that affect the poor and the powerless.

I am very glad that he took first steps with the Affordable Care Act, and my hope is that with time, these programs with strengthen.

My hope is also that the president and those in Congress will remember they are to act as advocates for all Americans, and that it is their moral duty to look out for those without power.

Otherwise, what the hell’s the presidency for?

Written by Michelle at 5:16 pm      Comments (2)  Permalink
Categories: History,Politics  
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