Easters of Yore

Ok, I failed at posting every day already. But there’s a reason for that! I’ve just gotten this new PC, a nice Dell Inspiron 17-inch laptop, and I’m kind of trying to get everything up and running. I’m approaching that status fairly quickly, though.

I hope I’m actually getting this entry’s content into the right place, because at first the edit boxes didn’t seem to be labeled. I played around with the preview links, and now I think things are working properly.

Anyway, Happy Easter! I’ve enjoyed having Friday off this past week, and feel a lot more relaxed for it. It makes me tempted to petition for a four-day workweek, but I know those days are over. I suppose I’ll just have to enjoy the time off whenever it comes.

I did venture over to Dunkin Donuts, which isn’t too far from my neighborhood, on that Friday. I mostly had to learn where exactly the building was. The streets are at somewhat odd angles, and there is a set of widely spaced steps that one must ascend in approaching the entrance. No one came to speak to me as I sipped coffee and read more of The Aviator’s Wife, however it was good to just listen to the ambience of the people as they came and went.

Yesterday was spent chatting with neighbors while sitting under the glorious sun. One of the best things I can say about my little area of Duke Manor Apartments is that there is a strong sense of community here. I stay in E, the guy in D helps me with technology issues as he’s really good at that kind of stuff. The woman in C reads my mail, sometimes transports me to the grocery store, and is just generally a supportive ear. She doesn’t let anyone move in here to whom she hasn’t introduced herself. She’ll bound out to the truck and help you offload your stuff! And she saw me the first time I really stepped outside after arriving that cold January weekend.

And today I sit, listening to the Yolanda Adams station on Pandora and reflecting on Easter as a kid. I don’t think my nieces and nephews celebrate it in the same way we usually did, but then I”m not sure much of anything is the same for them.

First, we often went to the sunrise service. If I thought 11:00 AM was early to attend church, try 6:45! Many an elbow to the ribage was necessary to keep me awake while sitting on those hard ews. It was the one rare time, when I was quite young, that my biological male parent actually came along to church with us.

After that service, they would feature an awesome breakfast of eggs, grits, sausages, biscuits and gravy, orange juice, and fruit. Great, I’m making myself hungry at a time when I can’t do much about it other than having a bowl of frosted flakes.

Then, we would head to Sunday School, and finally to that 11:00 service. This was definitely the longest day of the year in my mind. I’m pretty sure I did often go to sleep by that point.

Out of the doors and onto my grandma’s house for dinner. The thing I most remember about this time is the endless photos we seemed to take. Each of us individually, in smaller groups, lined up against the piano, standing outside, in just about every configuration you can imagine. My face would hurt from trying to smile.

Then the kids would be herded inside while the adults ran around in the grass and distributed eggs for the anual Easter egg hunt. My Aunt would always include three plastic eggs among the edible ones: one with money, one with a prize that would allow you to select some extravagance that she’d pay for (my cousin got it one year and took piano lessons), and a third with a piece of paper that said “rotten egg”.

Because my cousin and I were blind, we would usually be taken around by my other Aunt, who is sadlyu no longer living. She would divide the eggs between us, even though my cousin couldn’t stand the things anyway and so his lot would just be redistributed among the rest of the kids.

I would venture to say that I kind of lost my afinity for boiled eggs because I ate like 9 or 10 of them pretty quickly one Easter. NOw they don’t seem so kind to my stomach. Give me scrambled!

The last time I even had something remotely resembling that tradition was back in 2011, when my Aunt told me to hop a train down from Chapel Hill, where I was in graduate school at the time, to join her for two services. We went to sunrise in Charlotte, then hopped on the highway to attend the 10:30 service in Southern Pines, NC. That was definitely a long day as well, but fun as it concluded with a delicious meal at Golden Corralle.

What are/were some of your Easter traditions? I’m sure they may have been similar to what I experienced, but well we all come from slightly different backgrounds. I hope you’re having a good one, in any event.

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Job Days

One of the most salient things in my life at the moment is my place of employment: Durham’s LC Industries. Part of the National Industries for the Blind, it is one of the oldest workshops in that system. We get contracts to provide goods such as clothing, bedding, and the like to the US military.

I specifically work in a section called master lock, where we participate in every part of the loch assembly process. These are the small kinds that are closed with a shackle and reopened with either a key or combination. I get the chain started, pulling the various pieces together which sometimes include a small metal chain as well as the already mentioned stuff, and placing them on a tray. The person to my immediate left them inserts the ball bearings with some sort of long, cylindrical tube. Finally, he applies some grease. I’m not certain what happens to the locks after that, though in theory I will someday know how to do every job in that section.

I write about this so that you know a little about the kind of routine I deal with. Admittedly not the most exciting thing in the world, but then when I point this out to others, they usually note a similar feeling about their own employment. It’s just one of those things one learns to do, I suppose.

I remember before my entrance into the working world, I often wondered how people managed to function with these demands. My answer seems lately to be to have my life run on a predictable program that usually doesn’t vary much.

4:15 am: feel that odd vibration on my backside. I put the cell in that pocket on a pair of shorts.

oh goodness, what’s that? I think to myself. I don’t know, but just before I roll over and drift back into a state of bliss, it occurs to me that the alarm is going off.

aaahhh!

4:45 am: All necessary morning dressing has been completed. Still in a fog, I grab my iPhone, launch the TuneIn radio app, and check the latest edition of CNN radio news day. As I do, I madly shovel down a bowl of cereal, a pop tart, leftover pizza? Whatever I can still find in that fridge.

5:15 am: time to hit the door, as the bus departs in twenty minutes. Out the door, into the street’s shoulder due to this neighborhood’s notorious lack of sidewalks, and on my way. It’s about a half mile walk, just enough to get the blood flowing to my brain. I also just recently mastered crossing that somewhat busy street by myself, which is very fortunate.

5:40 am: listen to the passengers mostly snore at that hour. I also use twitter and the local newspapers to get me caught up on what’s going on in the area.

6:00 am :arrive at Durham Station, the city’s transportation center. It’s no Grand Central Station, but there are a few people and buses moving around. I make my way to the next bus, which takes me on to the plant.

6:30 am : after clocking in, I make my way quickly to the soda machine as my nervous system is flooded with hormones in anticipation of caffeine. I can barely get the change in the slot quickly enough. I then open iBooks on my entertainment device and settle in till that evil 7:00 bell rings. And from that point, the routine is as initially described.

All things considered, I’m surprised how well I have managed to hold up. This is the first time I have held a position that requires me to work all five business days, so that took some getting used to.

Anyone with difficulty hearing understands the phenomenon where people say things right in front of you that they might not otherwise, figuring that you aren’t picking them up. This can be a good or bad thing, but lately its been quite pleasant as I heard my coworkers offering unexpected praise of my efforts. That definitely does help my morale.

So that’s today’s piece. I may set a goal, though I’m not entirely committing to it, to write a post in here every day as I did in my LiveJurnal during a significant portion of my employment in Charlotte. It helps keep the creative juices flowing. We shall see how long I go on with it.

Intro Post: Old hats may wish to skip

So I realized that since I zapped that other blog, I no longer have an intro post. This means that I should try and come up with one, right? Well its as good a time as any to examine who I am, I guess. Those who’ve known me a long time might wish to skip this post, but maybe I can make it interesting for you, too.

I was born. I’m told the day dawned cold and rainy, but I’ve also been told that it was Friday, September 13, 1979. I know that last wasn’t possible, since the calendars say the 13th was on a Thursday that year. In any event, that kinda makes for a good story.

I have a rare genetic condition called Norrie disease, which results usually in total blindness from birth due to retinal detachment. It also causes progressive hearing loss, which has been the more adjustment requiring part of things for me. It’s all good though: I have not and will never let it stop me from doing the same crazy things I always do.

Hailing from the queen city of Charlotte, I grew up in a family of five sisters. For much of my early life, my only real male influence was my cousin who is about a year younger than my 33. My dad then came into my life during teen aged years, and he has certainly taught me a lot about what it means to be a good and honorable man. And anyone should know that one doesn’t have to donate sperm in order to be a good father.

I went to high school in a small town called Southern Pines NC, and while I complained at first about being out of the city, it was probably the best thing I had done to that point. It allowed me to find myself academically.

Eventually I returned to Charlotte to attend the major university there, going on to experience even greater academic success as a psychology major. What is it that they say about psych majors needing the most therapy?

After five aimless years just working in a sheltered workshop for blind folks in Charlotte and enjoying living with my cousin, I made the somewhat random decision to attend grad school. I did this at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where I attempted to complete an MS in rehabilitation counseling and psychology. Let’s just say all that academic prowess I thought I had pretty much went out of the window. The program was supposed to take two years to finish, but I clung to that raft as it got sucked down the raging river for almost three. It wasn’t a total waste, though. Is anything, it showed me how not to adequately prepare for such an expedition.

Is I do make another go of that, I know now that I need solid, definable goals. I’m still working those out, but part of me is longing to do something in a journalistic capacity, as I had started to consider shortly after undergrad ended. I’m not really sure how to begin taking that from dream to occurrence, though. Just doing a lot of thinking.

And now I reside in Durham NC, where I again work at a sheltered workshop. The nice thing about this one though is that there is real potential for promotion, should I choose to take that path. We shall see how it all plays out.

Of course, there’s more to me than I could easily capture in one post. If you continue to read, you’ll see lots of stuff about books I like, my favorite sports teams, (I’m all about North Carolina except for the duke Blue Devils), music I love, and not surprisingly, the places I go. Feel free to chime in with questions or suggestions whenever you like. And most of all, enjoy.

Book Review: The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin

Definitely still working out the kinks with this blog, and there are many! I feel like I have to know a lot more about how websites work to really take advantage of this thing, but I still hope to be fully operational soon. I just gave up and deleted all of my blogger entries, because the span really went haywire.

Anyway, what better way to open a in which I hope to focus on my travels than by reviewing a travel book of sorts. Well its more like historical fiction, but its based on one of the most prominent figures in aviation.

Actually as the title suggests, a lot of the story is told from his wife’s perspective. And that would be the wife of Charles Lindbergh, of course.

Benjamin makes clear from the beginning that the woman she creates to have married Mr. lindbergh is fictional. I suppose this is done to give her more liberty in dramatizing the narrative. The events that unfold however make it pretty clear that the story is very much reality based.

It opens with the eventual wife kind of playing second fiddle to her sister, with the family assuming that the sister would marry him because of her good looks and charm. This was in 1927, shortly after Lindbergh completed his Atlantic crossing to Paris.

For reasons only he really knows, Lindbergh asks Anne, the wife’s name in this novel, to fly up with him not once but twice. I enjoy the flight parts most, although I get a sense that the author chooses not to dive into a deep explanation of how planes work and what was being looked at when things had to be fixed. This is ok, but it makes those parts of the book fall a little flat in my opinion.

I haven’t finished it yet, but it seems to me that Benjamin wanted to demonstrate the perils us hero worship, and that at the end of the day we’re all still human. I really like this message.

The story is told entirely from Anne’s first person perspective, with strange flash forwards to 1974, when Lindbergh is apparently dying. The first time this happened, I’d thought I had accidentally skipped ahead a bunch of pages.

I’m not as into the romantic angle, but I can recommend this because it has plenty of suspense too. At the very least, it makes a fun way to start a workday.

Test Post

Hello, it is with some degree of sadness that I leave my old blog behind. It has just gotten to a point where span has taken over, so I was forced to make the change. As soon as I work out how to import those entries, which I gather I won’t really be able to do until I get a computer, I will delete that account entirely.
Speaking of computers, I just recently ordered a seventeen inch laptop from Dell, and I’m just hoping they send the thing some time soon. I called and spoke to customer service, because I’m always careful to make sure I get the exact specifications I desire. I think its going to be a nice machine.
Anyway, this is more of a test post than anything else. I want to see how it’ll share, etc. I have a lot of work to do to make the profile all pretty, but again that’ll have to wait for more processing power. In the meantime, I’ll go somewhere and try to keep warm.