Sunday, July 21, 2019

Thankful Sunday, July 21, 2019

I an thankful to be
another year older.

Yesterday was my birthday. Another year older and that's great because you know what they say, "Consider the alternative." In some ways, I don't feel any older than I did many years ago except for an occasional creaky knee.  In other ways, I feel my age--mostly in the insights that have come from years of experience. Sometimes when I hear what a younger person has said or done, I am surprised and judgmental until I remember what I thought and knew at their age. That puts it in perspective and I realize that experience has been the way that I have gained wisdom. And I've only gotten that through living year after year.

So for my past birthdays and the ones to come, I am thankful.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Thankful Sunday, July 14, 2019

I am thankful for my grandmother.

My grandmother and some of her grandkids.
There were 6 more born after this.

Today is my paternal grandmother's birthday. Yvette would have been 116 years old. She was born in 1903 in rural West Virginia and got married 20 years later. After a couple of years, she and my grandfather settled on a farm that is still in the family today.

She grew the food, churned the butter, and kept the books on the things they sold as well as the weather. But the most important thing she did was to raise 8 kids. And it was not easy. After a childhood accident, my Aunt Ellen was disabled for the rest of her life and bedridden for many years of it. Also, my grandmother lost another child soon after his first birthday.

However, one of the hardest parts of Yvette's life were the difficulties that my grandfather had after several unfortunate things happened to him. He used alcohol to deal with his pain and it was not good. Because of this, there was every reason for my father and his siblings to grow into dysfunctional adults, but they didn't. They were good parents and spouses, worked hard, and contributed to their communities. And that is because of my grandmother. Her calm steadiness was able to give them the stability they needed to rise above the problems in the family.

So for my grandmother, who was able to raise her children into responsible, happy adults, I am very thankful. Happy Birthday, Grandma Yvette.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Thankful Sunday, July 7, 2019

I am thankful for the sun 
and the life and beauty it brings.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Independence Day

Happy 4th of July!

Today we are getting  family together to celebrate the 4th in a traditional way--by having picnic food including a smoked roast that Ward put on early this morning.  However, I think we'll be eating inside since it's supposed to be close to 100 today. Last night we watched a firework show that the neighbors put on. All fun activities. 

However, so as not to forget what today is celebrating, below is a previous post that means a lot to our family. 

Today is Independence Day, the day we celebrate the 240th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. An important event in our early history.

I have been fortunate to see many things tied to important events from the start of the US.  Among others, I've seen a real copy of the Declaration of Independence and tallies of the votes done before its acceptance. I've visited Philadelphia and seen Constitution Hall where the Declaration was adopted. I've been to Boston and seen the harbor where they had the Boston Tea party. In Baltimore, I saw the flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the Star Spangled Banner. And I've visited the homes of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington, all key players in our early days.

source   Mt. Vernon, George Washington's home.

But among all of these amazing visits, there is one that stood out more than the others. Ward and I were visiting Mt. Vernon, home of George Washington. We went with Ward's parents, Leo and Syl, who lived nearby but hadn't visited in years. The weather was nice and we were enjoying the various buildings and gardens when we decided to tour the house. We went through the first part of the tour and were waiting on the wide front porch that faces the Potomac to get into the next part.

We were chatting about this and that when Syl said, "This is where I got my citizenship." (His mother was from Guatemala and came to college here where she met Ward's dad.) What? Right here? I had never heard this story and neither had Ward. She had actually stood on the porch right where we were and got sworn in as a US citizen. Leo said that Ward was little and he had him out on the lawn trying to keep him quiet and out of trouble while his mother said her oath. So as we were learning about an early part of our country's history, we also learned about early part of Ward's history. Soon after that, Ward's mother became sick and died several months later. We felt lucky that we got to share the memories of this important event with her.

So today, as I remember our forefathers and the start of our country, I think about Syl and others like her who also got a new beginning here. I am fortunate to live in a country where this is possible.

Monday, July 1, 2019

The Interview

I mentioned, about a month ago, I was going on a job interview. Well, I went and it was a different experience to say the least. It was very controlled, I'm guessing so that the employer would be able to defend themselves and say that everyone was treated the same in the case of a lawsuit. My interview went something like this.

I showed up at the appointed place and time and they gave me a list of the questions they were going to ask me during the interview.  I then got exactly 15 minutes with the questions to formulate answers. Several of them were multi-part questions where the parts were sometimes related and sometimes not.

Then I was escorted to a room with a three person interview panel. The same three people interviewed every candidate. After introductions and a couple of disclaimers, they read me the first question. Then I talked. And when I finished talking, they read me the next question. And once again, when I finished talking, they read me the next question and so on. There was absolutely no feedback. No followup questions, no clarifications, no stopping me if they had had enough examples. They said nothing. They just waited for me to finish talking and then they read the next question on the list. While I was talking, they were taking notes. I found it unnerving and unnatural.

When the panel finished with the list of questions, they asked if I had any questions. I asked about the procedures after the interview, how many jobs, how many interviewees, etc. The panel either didn't know the answers or were not allowed to give out the information to any of those questions.

And then I was done.

From talking to coworkers, who have been through the process before, supposedly there is a score sheet where they tally how well you answered the questions. If you left out a part of a question, you would get no points for that. So if you didn't answer the questions exactly, it would be possible to be well qualified but not do well on the tally sheet. After the points are tallied, the panel breaks any ties.

So how did I do? I've had no feedback one way or another, so I have no idea. But I tried. Now onto something else.