Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

By Secret Ballot

I hear people talking back and forth; feeling one another out. Most assume their friends will vote Republican; it’s Republican country up here in the westernmost part of Florida. Yards are littered with Romney – Ryan signs, with a few timid Obama signs here and here in a yard or on a car fender.

My Dad taught us, when we were very young, that the only appropriate answer when asked how one would vote is “I am voting by secret ballot.” He taught us how precious the right is to cast your vote and to know that no one can intimidate you into voting for someone else, because we vote by secret ballot. No husband can command his wife, no father can command his family, no minister can command his church. We each vote our individual conscience.

So we have the luxury of worrying whether we will vote the right candidates into office. We can only do the best we can with the information we have. I don’t want opinions, I want to see where a candidate stands on the issues that are important to me. And, in the end, I trust in the Lord:

Psalm 20

Now this I know:
The Lord gives victory to his anointed.
He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary
with the victorious power of his right hand.
7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
8 They are brought to their knees and fall,
but we rise up and stand firm.
9 Lord, give victory to the king!
Answer us when we call!

When I hear people moaning in the locker room, or jeering in the parking lot, I walk right by. It’s not my problem. I vote my conscience, and I leave the outcome in the Lord’s hands.

October 31, 2012 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Character, Community, Cultural, ExPat Life, Faith, Financial Issues, Living Conditions, Political Issues, Social Issues, Values | 4 Comments

Brrrrrrrrrr . . .

It’s COLD this morning, 42°F, 5°C, and I have donned my long pink flannel nightgown. I grew up in flannel nightgowns, which are not very attractive, but they are nice and warm. When they are brand new, they are too hot, my current one is about half-old, and I have one that I know I need to part with – it is so thin it tears at the slightest encouragement – but I love them when they get old and thin, LOL!

Once I make the leap to scrap one of these trusty flannel nightgowns, they are great for polishing silver. I know, I know, who polishes silver anymore? My sister Big Diamond says she puts her silver in the dishwasher, and uses it every day because people just don’t entertain formally as we once did.

Living in a place that’s warm most of the time, my flannel nightgowns don’t get a lot of wear and are lasting a lot longer than they used to. Ditto all my beautiful winter clothes. Vanity, vanity, I spent money of beautiful wools in Germany, Austria and England for hard winters back in Edmonds, WA, and now I have a closet full of beautiful winter clothes that I rarely get a chance to wear. Today, I can pull out an old friend and wear it!

October 30, 2012 Posted by | ExPat Life, Generational, Germany, Pensacola, Weather | Leave a comment

Fairbanks, Alaska or Brazil

I would have loved to be able to actually watch and see when the actual 2 millionth visitor visited, but as it does, life got in the way. There were things that needed doing, people that needed time and attention, and I by the time I got back to check, I had already gone over.

Using StatCounter, I was able to go back 78 people and figure out that it was either the visitor from Brasil or a visitor from Fairbanks, Alaska.

A couple times, I have thought I would quit blogging, like when I hit 5 years, then six, or maybe when I hit 2 million hits . . . Now, I don’t know. There are times when it is hard to get inspired, hard to think of anything I might have to say that you might find interesting, too.

I have a little trick. When I am stumped, I think of our aqua aerobics group in Doha, Qatar. We weren’t very serious, but we were very committed. We had to show up because the others counted on us. Our motto was “any exercise is better than no exercise” and on very cold days in January, exercise counted as sitting in the hot tub and kicking. We talked to pass the time, and not to think about exercising. We talked about books we had read, dishes we had cooked, movies we have seen, and events in the news. So when I can’t think of anything much to say, I think about my friends, the Aqua Babes (LOL!) and I can usually come up with something.

A long time ago, in Kuwait, there was a blogger called (something) Red, I followed, and she thought about quitting and asked us to give her reasons why or why not. I remember writing that we blog because it’s what we do, we write because it is something in us that needs to be written. Until I wrote that to her, I didn’t even know that I thought that. I guess that is why I keep on, because there is something in me that needs to do what I am doing, and when I don’t need to do it, I will stop.

October 29, 2012 Posted by | Adventure, Blogging, Doha, Exercise, ExPat Life, Humor, Living Conditions, Statistics, Weather | 6 Comments

Summer in Seattle Comes to Pensacola

(LOL, not quite there yet)

Today is a gorgeous Seattle summer day, lows last night in the low 40’s, and high today MIGHT hit 60. It’s a great day for being outside, trimming back the rose bushes, taking cuttings for some new starts. It’s a great day for mulching, weeding, all those things I dread when the weather is hot and humid.

Only tiny drawback is the mosquitos; we have both nile fever and dengue to worry about with those pesky mosquitos, as well as other mosquito borne illnesses. I actually have a beautiful mosquito netting we bought in Bruges for when we lived in Germany, with our windows open all summer, but we have our windows open so seldom it is hardly worth it to put it up, and I think it annoys Adventureman having to get in and out of bed with the net, LOL!

We still have tomatoes and peppers and eggplants ripening, our pomegranates are ready, and our lemons are beginning to ripen – it is a great day to be alive.

October 29, 2012 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Blogging, ExPat Life, Florida, Gardens, Living Conditions, Pensacola, Statistics | Leave a comment

2,000,000 Today?

I think I am going to receive my 2 millionth visitor today, but I need to go to water aerobics, I can’t just sit by my computer and watch!

October 29, 2012 Posted by | Blogging, Statistics | 2 Comments

Daily Readings on Gossip

I grew up in a culture that thrives on gossip and speculation. Today’s reading from The Lectionary reminds me to gurd my tongue; never to repeat a conversation, unless not to repeat it would be a sin, as in murder or abuse.

Sirach 19:4-17

4 One who trusts others too quickly has a shallow mind,
and one who sins does wrong to himself.
5 One who rejoices in wickedness* will be condemned,*
6 but one who hates gossip has less evil.
7 Never repeat a conversation,
and you will lose nothing at all.
8 With friend or foe do not report it,
and unless it would be a sin for you, do not reveal it;
9 for someone may have heard you and watched you,
and in time will hate you.
10 Have you heard something? Let it die with you.
Be brave, it will not make you burst!
11 Having heard something, the fool suffers birth-pangs
like a woman in labour with a child.
12 Like an arrow stuck in a person’s thigh,
so is gossip inside a fool.

13 Question a friend; perhaps he did not do it;
or if he did, so that he may not do it again.
14 Question a neighbour; perhaps he did not say it;
or if he said it, so that he may not repeat it.
15 Question a friend, for often it is slander;
so do not believe everything you hear.
16 A person may make a slip without intending it.
Who has not sinned with his tongue?
17 Question your neighbour before you threaten him;
and let the law of the Most High take its course.*

October 29, 2012 Posted by | Character, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Friends & Friendship, Interconnected, Lectionary Readings, Relationships, Social Issues, Values | Leave a comment

Not the Day I Expected

Last night just before we went to bed, I reminded AdventureMan to set his alarm clock back for the end of daylight savings time. It was so much fun, having an extra hour to do things, to read. It was so relaxing, waking up and knowing we had plenty of time to get to church. I got up, fixed my coffee and changed all the clocks downstairs.

As we drove to church, I noticed all the outdoor clocks along the way, still on the same old time. I was feeling very smug.

When we drove into the parking lot, it was full, which was odd, because it was early, even for the early service. When we saw people leaving, as we were driving in, I had the “aha” moment.

Oh wait. This isn’t the first week-end in November . . . 😦 I’ve gotten ahead of myself. I got the fruitcakes all done and I was ready for November, so ready that somehow, I thought it was a week later . . .

We missed the early service, LOL. We always think of the early service as Episcopal Lite; the express version. Instead, we attended the 10:30 service, and had a great treat at the end, Ken Keradin playing Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, you might know it as background music for other creepy movies.

You know how once a day gets started the wrong way, the rest of the day just seems weird? It is a gorgeous, chilly day, bright sunlight, and I can’t get started on any of my projects. I feel jangled, turned a little upside down. Now I have to go through all the clock changes again next week-end!

October 28, 2012 Posted by | Cultural, Family Issues, Humor, Living Conditions | 2 Comments

Fruitcakes and the Sun is Not Over the Yardarm

It is a nice, cool, wonderful day in late October, and today I am going to make the annual fruitcakes with my Mom’s old recipe. I always set a target date of 31 October, and try to make them somewhere in that week so they will have time to mellow in the refrigerator.

The recipe is my Mother’s, although she says she barely recognizes the result. I can remember as a little girl in Alaska sitting at the kitchen table and cutting dates with scissors, taking the seeds out and cutting the rest into pieces, and then the prunes. For a long time I was not fond of dates or prunes, LOL! They were STICKY!

Now, dates and prunes come in packets already pitted, and you can even buy date pieces (I don’t) so you don’t have to cut them up. The Cuisinart does a great job, makes all that cutting into small pieces a 10 second task. It takes longer to load and clean the Cuisinart than it takes to chop the dates and prunes.

I watch the stores for the candied cherries and citron, and use a lot. After all, it’s supposed to be a FRUITcake, isn’t it? The first one is ready by Thanksgiving. I make a few larger ones to use during the holidays, and several smaller ones to give as gifts, but only to people who really like fruitcake and won’t use it as a doorstop. They are dense, and heavy as bricks, LOL.

Yesterday, AdventureMan brought home a couple of his friends from the garden club. Wouldn’t you know, I had just poured a bottle of brandy over the raisins and microwaved them to soak overnight, so the raisins in the fruit cake would be plump and tasty. As they all walked in, the house reeked of brandy. I could imagine them wondering if Adventureman’s wife was hitting the bottle that early in the day. Not only was the sun not over the yardarm, but wasn’t even near.

I hope to have them all baked and wrapped and stored by tonight.

UPDATE: Mission accomplished 🙂

October 27, 2012 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Chocolate, Christmas, Cooking, Cultural, Generational | 2 Comments

First Winter Weather Coming

From Weather Underground:

AdventureMan will be pulling out his long underwear, LOL!

October 26, 2012 Posted by | Humor, Statistics, Weather | 2 Comments

Milestone 4,000

I have passed a major blogging milestone, and I am about to pass another. The last post, the biblical verses from the apocraphyl book Sirach, was post number 4,000.

One day, it looks like in the next two weeks, I will hit 2,000,000 visitors. 🙂

. . . . I still miss the Kuwait sunrises . . .

October 26, 2012 Posted by | Blogging, Kuwait, Statistics | 2 Comments