coming out of my shell

coming out of my shell

Thursday, January 26, 2017

PB and WHAT?

I love peanut butter. I am thankful I was not cursed with a peanut allergy. You might think I am being facetious or shallow, but I am quite sincere. Peanut butter enhances the quality of my life, and I WANT the quality of my life to be enhanced.

I eat peanut butter on toast, in oatmeal, cookies, and sandwiches. I have a favorite African groundnut stew recipe that my husband whips up. It never fails to make me happy when I'm feeling blue. I spread PB on pancakes, crackers, and celery. If I am feeling especially wicked, I will scoop it out of the jar and eat it neat, right off the damn spoon. Secretly, of course...

You see, peanut butter is a comfort food for me.  My other comfort foods are anything red, and milk chocolate. I know dark chocolate is better for you, but it just doesn't float my boat like milk chocolate. Still, I force myself to choose dark chocolate from time to time just in case I have somehow changed my mind. I try to keep an open mind about these things.

I fully realize one "should not" use food to comfort, soothe, or pacify one's tortured self; however, it works. Anyway, I hate "should nots." "Should nots" make me want to do the opposite.  So, in the interest of not gaining a million pounds during these dark nights of the soul, I am looking for alternate ideas. NOT alternative facts, mind you. Do you have healthier and lighter comfort food you choose when you are simply eating to fill that empty part deep down inside? Lay it on me. I want to know. 

Pomona in winter, no doubt yearning for apples and cherries

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Remember the ladies

Yesterday I considered staying in bed all day with the covers pulled over my head. Considering the mood I was in, it probably would have been for the best. However, life is meant to be lived, adversity overcome, and these damn moods really MUST be tamed! This is the stuff of life. Who am I to surrender?

Instead, I will follow the the directive of Abigail Adams. In her March 31, 1776 letter to her husband, John Adams she asked him to "remember the ladies" when helping to build a code of laws for what what they hoped would become a new, independent nation dedicated to liberty and justice for all.

Today I remember the ladies on just one branch of my family. This is not my distaff line, although I could do that. Instead, I am thinking of my paternal grandpa's mother. Let us consider the lives of women in her line as a long, multi-generational Women's March for equality and respect. In honoring them, I also honor all the brave women marching on Washington, D.C. and other cities.

ere is
my great grandmother, Emma Frost. She was born in Wayne Co., Kentucky in 1881, and died there in 1963. She and her husband (her second cousin) were tobacco farmers who also operated a small grocery store in their house. Emma and her husband had 12 children.


Emma's mother was Ellen Ramsey (1857-1938), also from Wayne Co., Kentucky. Ellen was a farm woman who outlived two husbands, had 5 children with the first and 6 children with the second. Ellen Ramsey looked like this:

Ellen's mother was Sarah "Sally" Rector (1814-1905). Another farm woman! Sally is my 3rd great grandmother through Emma's side, but she is also my 3rd great aunt through Emma's husband's side. Ha! I need a chart to figure these things out. Sally and her husband had 10 children.


Sally's mother was Rutha Simpson. Rutha was born in Pendleton Co., South Carolina in 1790. Her family moved to Rowan Co., North Carolina when she was young, but by 1806 they were living in Wayne Co., Kentucky. Rutha's father was an officer in the Royalist army during the War for Independence, so they had to keep moving after the British lost. They were not welcome in most communities. Rutha, however, married a son of a Revolutionary War soldier who fought at the battle of Yorktown, when General Cornwallis surrendered to George Washington. That must have made for interesting dinner conversations around the farmhouse table after all the chores were done. Rutha and her husband had nine children.
Rutha (from a painting on a commemorative plate)

Rutha's mother was Sarah Sherrill (b. 1746, Virginia; d. 1826 Kentucky). The Sherrill's are historical figures and old settlers. Her grandfather, William Sherrill, was born about 1670 in Devon, England. He arrived in Maryland about 1686 as a bonded passenger. In time, he became a fur trader and a well known Indian guide in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He is also sometimes referred to as "The Conestoga Fur Trader." Sarah was a year old when she and her family left Augusta, Virginia to become the first Europeans to settle on the west side of the Catawba River in North Carolina. Sarah and her husband had as many as 13 children.

Sarah's mother was Agnes White. Agnes was born in Virginia in 1726 and was part of the pioneer North Carolina family referenced above. She died at Sherrill's Ford, North Carolina in 1795. Agnes White and William Sherrill had as many as 14 children, many dying young.

Agnes' mother was likely Mary "Polly" Campbell, born in Ulster, Ireland in 1686.  She married Duncan White, and she died in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in 1728. 

Polly's mother was possibly Mary McCoy, born in Scotland about 1650, married Moses White, and died in Ulster, Ireland about 1689. 

I honor these women today, with all my heart. They are only one branch of women who came before me. In the wheel of life that represents ancestry, there are so many others. 

Friday, January 13, 2017

Moderating Moderately

I belong to a secret Facebook group; sounds ominous, right? It isn't. Secret FB groups are like all organizations people voluntarily join, except they are virtual. The term "secret" is unfortunate because it raises the creepy quotient.

Facebook has 3 privacy settings for groups: Public, Closed, Secret. Anyone can join or see what members posts on the Public group. Closed groups have more privacy protections including the fact that one has to be asked to join or invited by a current member, and only current members can see posts. Secret groups provide the safest space because only current members can see who is in the group or find the group in a search. 

My group is small, focusing on calls to action and verified news. We do not wallow in negativity or fake news inspired hysteria. We want the facts. We are trying to be adults and encourage positive political action. Until I joined, I was reluctant to publicly voice my political concerns on my personal FB page because of rabid comments I received from the extreme left or extreme right of the political spectrum.

It wasn't the disagreement that bothered me, it was the vicious meanness in tone. Dehumanizing one's opponent is a stone cold drag. I am SO done with that nonsense, and I fear it will get worse with Twitter becoming a political conduit.

Which brings me to my point. I volunteer as a moderator for this group, deleting comments or posts that do not adhere to the rules. I am sometimes abused by members who are outraged or embarrassed at having their posts/comments deleted. But the rules are clear. This group is trying to be serious, positive, and effective; we are trying to go high. If your post/comment goes way down low, or directs others to fake news sites, it is GOING to be deleted. There are also the people who join with the sole intent of disrupting the group. They get the boot.

The thing is, this volunteer gig is beginning to remind me of all those years I spent working as a manager or a supervisor. Sheesh. Why, oh why do I "raise my hand" and take on responsibility? I wonder how long I need to wait to retire from the moderator role and just become a member again? I mean, without hating myself for being a wimp?  Because...I don't want to be a wimp. I want to do the right thing, even if it is the hard thing.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Lego of your adult notions

I have a 4 year-old grandson, N. He's my pal. Consequently, Legos are now an important part of my life. We have a lot of them, but nowhere near what we (grandson N, husband T, and I) ultimately need to be happy. The only limit to the number of Legos you need seems to be the amount of space you have to store them. 

I went into this whole grandparent thing totally innocent in the ways of Lego. Now they are my favorite toy. I look forward to playing with them.

I am happy to report
Lego has a new line in pastel colors
targeted for girls! Yes, at first it did seem a little creepy and sexist to me. Then I remembered social change cannot always take the straight and narrow path. Sometimes being subversive is the best choice.

f issuing these building bricks in pastels make parents feel it is okay to buy Legos for their daughters, or entices froufrou girls to play with them, then I approve. Plus, I actually prefer the pastel colors. As a former froufrou girl, let me say I wish I had developed fine motor skills and increased my concentration early on by playing with pink Legos. 

If girls have their own private stash and are willing to share, all those Legos will eventually become community (i.e., sibling) property, regardless of gender. Their brothers will finally have access to the right bricks for making pink and lavender trucks. Pink and lavender trucks? Maybe with black bricks added for dramatic highlights and definition? I'm in!

Why only use Legos to combat sexism? You know how intricate c
oloring books for adults are now the therapeutic rage? Well, I am sure playing with Legos is way more fun than coloring inside the lines, and equally relaxing. Lego should offer adult kits with colors like silver, gold, zebra stripes, leopard spots, you name it. One could design Lego furniture, for crying out loud. Playing with Legos could become the next trendy thing. It beats the hell out of drinking yourself into a stupor and/or watching TV. I have to confess that I am no longer sure if I am kidding or serious (yikes!). Wait a minute... Nah, I'm almost positive I'm kidding.

I live near the Orlando theme parks. In this strange land of wildly expensive entertainment destinations there is, of course, a park called Legoland. Another place called Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney - a huge shopping district on Disney property) is also a Lego-lover hot spot. Disney Springs has a sizable Lego store with some amazingly large "sculptures" outside, including this sea serpent. I wonder if they sell it as a kit? I also wonder how much it would cost, and if it comes in mauve

This is how I want to feel every day!

Do you love it?

Monday, January 2, 2017

This New Freakin' Year

I know I should be filled with Happy New Year cheer, invoking goodness and light. I know this, but I simply do not feel it. Please do not read this if you are already feeling overwhelming despair or you are sick to death of politics. It won't hurt my feelings. I understand the need to protect oneself. Stop

The mean-spirited, nationalistic, and violent trends around the world are troubling to me. I could give my opinions about the insanely small minded decisions made by other countries this past year, but I try not to criticize things that are none of my business. 

I could rant on about evil dictators and macho strong-men in other countries, but I am beginning to think, like Voldemort, one should not speak their names out loud. Especially when I find that I get ridiculously large amounts of hits from those countries on my blog stats every week. 

However, this is still a free country, at least for now. I will say that I believe the electoral college of the U.S. elected a man of limited intelligence who is motivated by ego and greed. He is a man who lost the popular vote by nearly 2.9 million votes (the largest margin in history), so obviously does not have a mandate. He is disliked and distrusted by people in his own party, and he seems frighteningly unprepared for the job ahead of him. That, combined with the aggressive actions of troubled nations and the subsequent revival of nationalistic backlash all over the world, fills me with dread for the coming year. 

I have always been happy at the prospect of a new year, a new start. For the very first time I dread the coming year. It seems we are moving backward instead of forward. I am waiting for the next shoe to drop.   

I know reality goes in circles, politics are cyclical. I survived Nixon, Reagan, and the younger Mr. Bush; however, the world has changed since then. Climate change is actually real, and we are in danger of making this world unlivable. We need reasonable gun control reforms that stop criminals from buying guns and killing innocent people. Black lives DO matter, and we run the risk of civil war by not taking our racist inclinations seriously. Social justice is actually righteous and moral, not a "politically correct" idea to be sneered at. Poverty encourages crime and limits our achievements as a nation, and as a world filled with nations. Women's rights are human rights. I cannot even get started on that one. Not yet. Too soon.

Perhaps the foolishness we are unleashing will change people's minds and we will see a progressive and compassionate awakening like we have never seen before? Maybe good people from all sides can come together and build a better world on top of the ruins of failed ideas? That is my hope for 2017. Stranger things have happened.