Tubing at Sugar Mountain, North Carolina

dscn1356

Tubing at Sugar Mountain, North Carolina, February 11, 2017

This weekend, my son and I visited Sugar Mountain, North Carolina and had a fun afternoon tubing.  The temperatures were very mild, and there were light sprinkles throughout the afternoon on February 11.  We were overdressed for the weather, and were too warm as we observed the artificially-made snow melt around us.

I’m an expert skier and was eager to hit the slopes, though my son is a beginner, and was not as confident, which is totally fine.  Sugar Mountain has ice skating, tubing, skiing, and snowboarding, so we had many different activities to choose from, and did not have to stick with skiing.  Tubing was really fun, and likely, less potentially hazardous, especially with the large crowd of people who were there this weekend.

dscn1355

Sugar Mountain, North Carolina Tubing, February 11, 2017

Sixteen years have passed since I first visited Sugar Mountain for skiing.  Sugar Mountain is awesome for skiing, but it is a long drive from our home.  With a stop or two, it takes six hours to get there.  Too bad it’s not a bit closer to Atlanta so we could enjoy it more often!

Beware of Lilburn, GA Man with Road Rage

road-rage-cartoon

I feel sorry for people with road rage. (Retrieved January 3, 2017 from politicalcartoons.com)

This morning, I experienced the worst situation of road rage in my life from a man in Lilburn, Georgia.  This man should absolutely be ashamed of his abominable conduct; I definitely feel sorry for someone so enraged by a situation he actually created, deliberately placing both us of at risk of harm.

Driving toward Five Forks Trickum Road in Lilburn on Martin Nash Road, a dark-colored hybrid car, GA tag PVG 7307, pulled out in front of me at the last moment from Dearwood Drive.  While I was oncoming at 50 mph, this man apparently assumed that I was able to slow down or stop for him to turn. Or, he wanted me to collide with him.  Anyone who drives a truck or SUV knows that one cannot stop on a dime, on slick, wet roads, at 50 mph.  So, this is a man who placed me and himself at risk, as well as any other oncoming drivers.  He turned out in front of me with such little distance between us that I was forced to pass or would have rear-ended his vehicle.

Continuing onward, this man flashed his lights as he raced to catch up with me, and then, attempted to cut me off as we transitioned into the turn lane.  Approaching the traffic light, this man has rolled down his window and is yelling and swearing at me from behind me, making hand gestures, and blaring his horn.  When the traffic light changed, I turned onto Five Forks Trickum Road and stopped in the median to allow him to pass.  Still with the same behavior, this man pulls up next to me and stopped traffic behind him; I let him eventually pass and so did the driver behind me who stayed some distance behind us.  Finally, this man decided to drive away and not wait for myself or other vehicles to follow.  Taking his license plate number, I called 911 and reported this incident. What was his problem?!

Again, never in my life have I experienced such a severe situation of road rage.  Is it becoming the norm for older white men to become enraged and be unable to control themselves behind the wheel, and believe it is okay to harass and terrorize women when no one else is around?  I am a courteous driver, but I also do what I believe is the most safe course of action in the moment.  If that means passing someone who pulled out in front of me at the last moment, rather than rear-ending them, then that’s what I’ll do.  Anyone with any sense would have first waited for me to drive by, and not turn out as I’m oncoming.  Further, once I passed this man, had he any sense, he would have realized that this was the best course of action I could have taken to protect both of us.

I will not be intimidated by idiots on the road who place lives at risk, whether mine, theirs, or those of others.  I will, however, pull over, let them pass, and call the police.  Too many people drive dangerously on the road, and I experienced the worst of this type of situation this morning.  My record reflects that I have a history of being a safe, defensive driver. Therefore, when the severity of the situation reaches a level to what I experienced today, it becomes important to me to make of record of it and inform other drivers for their own safety and protection.  Beware!

 

 

Merit Badge Work at the BSA Atlanta Area Clinic at Oglethorpe University

102_3794.JPG

My son with his Saturn V model rocket. Oglethorpe University, Atlanta Area Boy Scout Council Merit Badge Clinic, Atlanta, Georgia, October 15, 2016.

On Saturday, October 15, 2016, my son participated in the Annual Atlanta Area Boy Scout Council Merit Badge Clinic at Oglethorpe University.  This was his second year participating in this huge event, and I can say that he had a wonderful experience both times! Last year, he completed his electronics merit badge there, and this year, his space exploration badge.

102_3800.JPG

My son preparing to launch his rocket with the assistance of a Georgia Tech student volunteer.  Oglethorpe University, Atlanta Area Boy Scout Council Merit Badge Clinic, October 15, 2016.

Students and volunteers from Georgia Institute of  Technology led the space exploration workshop yesterday.  Everyone was very friendly, knowledgeable, professional, and helpful to the boys.  The highlight of the workshop was being able to shoot off actual rockets, something that my son has never done before.  Learning and participating in the merit badge clinic has supported and further fueled his interest in space exploration, planet study, and astronomy.

102_3811.JPG

My son and Georgia Tech student volunteer, after having launched the rocket.  Oglethorpe University, Atlanta Area Boy Scout Council Merit Badge Clinic, October 15, 2016.

Thank you to all who hosted, arranged, and led this great clinic of 25 workshops for the benefit of 100s (400-500, possibly) of boys.  We returned for another time this year because of the great experience enjoyed from last year.  It is wonderful that our area can host such an educational and enjoyable clinic for the scouts!

How to Get a Same-Day Doctor Appointment: Call 4 Doctor’s Offices

Last week, I was sick with a sinus infection and congestion.  You know, it’s that really icky, mucky mucous in your sinuses of the most ugly sort.  I had the pasty eyes, sore throat, plugged ears, and awful sinus mucous.  Not to mention, it just leaves you feeling drained, achy, tired, and miserable.  I managed with it for five days until calling for a doctor’s appointment to get some antibiotics to treat it.

Now, I have a regular doctor who is my primary care physician.  My pcp is a great physician, however the issue with him is that his office does not have a direct phone number, and all calls go through this type of routing system.  (I’ve also been double-billed on my most recent two appointments, necessitating calls to get that corrected!) The folks who answer the calls in this system are completely unhelpful, and it just becomes a waste of time to even call with a simple question, not to mention trying to schedule an appointment or get a call back.  I called my pcp’s phone number, asked to speak with a nurse in his office, and was refused, with an operator identifying their “protocol,” which I already know is not to transfer any calls to his office.  So, I called my “alternate” doctor.

I contact my “alternate” doctor when my pcp is unavailable and/or unaccessible, for whatever reason.  (I can’t just drive 45 minutes to my pcp’s office for the thrill of it and without an appointment unless I’m in the area of his office for other business reasons; he does not take walk-ins and does not “fit” you in to his schedule.)  So, on calling my alternate doctor’s office, he was booked for the day and they were also unable to “fit” me in to his schedule.  By the way, this alternate doctor is located about 1 hour away from me – even further away than my pcp.

Still feeling miserable and wanting an appointment for the same day, I decided to search for other physicians in my area.  Searching online, I located an office of physicians at my local hospital in Snellville.  On calling, I was placed on hold for 10 minutes, only later to be told that I could not be seen that day because one entire day was needed for the “system to upload my information.”  Really?  I let the receptionist know I would keep looking.

On continuing my online search, I located another office in my area.  Low and behold, it was a family practice that accepted walk-in patients!  And, it was two minutes from my house!  Was this too good to be true?  I decided to find out.

I called this doctor’s office – my fourth call in my quest for scheduling a doctor’s appointment to treat my sinus infection – and I spoke with  a receptionist who said it was a good time to come by right then!  Wow, I jumped at that opportunity.  I went to the facility, completed a few papers, waited for about 1 hour, and was seen as a new, walk-in patient!  I also come out with the prescription I needed to treat my illness, and went to my pharmacy, getting it filled that day, as well.

In all, the time I spent at that doctor’s office as well as getting my prescription filled took about 2 hours.  I had a great experience there, and will definitely be going back when my other doctors’ offices continue to have obstacles in scheduling me to be seen for treatment!

9/11 Remembrance

On Labor Day weekend, my son and I visited the 9/11 Memorial in New York City.  To follow are a few pictures from our visit in remembrance of 9/11, and the victims and survivors of that day.

102_3625

My son and I at the 9/11 Memorial in New York City, September 3, 2016

102_3616

My son at the 9/11 Memorial, New York City, September 3, 2016

102_3620

Partial View of Reflecting Pool of Former North Tower, New York City, September 3, 2016

102_3627

Names of a Few of those who Died in 9/11, 9/11 Memorial, New York City, September 3, 2016

102_3608

My son Standing next to the New Transportation Hub (Built Similarly to the Shape of a Dove) and the New One World Tower, New York City, September 3, 2016

Unfortunately, the lines were so long to enter the actual museum, that we did not wait to go into it.  People were saying that record crowds were at the memorial on the day we were there.  We would have had to wait 1-1.5 hours to get into the museum.  At least we were able to see and take in the outdoor memorial area.

May all those who died in 9/11 rest in peace.

First Trip to California!

102_2977

My son standing next to a Giant Sequoia in Sequoia National Park near Three Rivers, California, July 2016

Last week, my son and I were in California.  It was the first trip there for both of us, and was wonderful and memorable!  All my life, I’ve wanted to see the giant trees, and finally took that opportunity this summer.

102_3148

Upper Yosemite Falls, Yosemite National Park, near Mariposa, California, July 2016

We enjoyed seeing many Giant Sequoias in Sequoia National Park; sky scraping mountains and beautiful waterfalls in Yosemite National Park; retired ships and boats at the San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park, as well as the famous Golden Gate Bridge, Oakland Bridge, China Town, and other sights in Frisco.

102_3306

Standing next to the retired ferry boat, Eureka, San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park, California, July 2016

Of everything, we enjoyed seeing the Sequoias most of all, and wish we could have stayed longer!

Do People Think Before They Act at Church Functions?

St. John Neumann Church Sanctuary, Lilburn, Georgia (Retrieved from Pinterest.com, July 2, 2016)

St. John Neumann Church Sanctuary, Lilburn, Georgia (Retrieved from Pinterest.com, July 2, 2016)

If one does not have continual time to volunteer in and/or be active in church functions, is he or she no longer needed at church?  And therefore, with regard to those within the church who make such decisions about others’ involvement, do they truly think before they act and/or put themselves in the others’ shoes?  These are the questions that I will seek to answer in the present post, based on certain experiences I have had at my church and within my faith, in general.

Throughout my life and within my faith, regardless of the church of which I have been a member, I have noticed that if one is not continually available to help, volunteer, assist, and/or otherwise minister within the church, he or she is not needed, or at least, does not appear to be as valued in the church as those who do.  Additionally, there appears to be a lack of consistency between people, philosophies, and perspectives in relation to value, importance, and need regarding members who volunteer and/or who are simply involved in various church activities.  All it takes is for one person to be unappreciative, disrespectful, and/or offensive, and it casts a poor reflection on the whole group.  This causes the church to potentially lose people and/or for some members to take their time and talents elsewhere.

Within the past five years, there have been four particular activities that I have been involved in at my church at St. John Neumann in Lilburn, Georgia, as well as two activities that my son has been involved in there, within which there has been this inconsistency of value, understanding, and/or appreciation toward us.  In describing several of those activities to follow, suffice it to say that this number of activities (6) is too many within which not to be valued or appreciated, to the point in two cases to be downright offended by others’ conduct.

While there are also many activities, volunteer efforts, and other church involvements in which we have been valued and appreciated, it was during those times that we also had much time and energy to invest in such activities.  They were also activities and efforts in which we were agreeable and accepting of the experience we had.  They were activities within which the leadership was good and the event was safe, proceeding well.  In instances, however, where leadership has been questionable and/or the event biased in some way, having identified those situations to church leadership and positive change was not observed, these have also been experiences in which feedback appears to have been used as a reason to alienate and/or exclude.

The mission of many Christian-based churches often includes being open to and accepting of all people.  This, however, appears to be true only if one continually has much time and/or money to invest in the church, and/or as long as there is no disagreement with anything that occurs within the church.  As an approved volunteer with a clean background check, I take offense when I am treated like a criminal in coming to pick up my child from youth group, find the church doors to be locked, and prevented from entering by the group’s volunteer leaders, as one example.  While this, in fact, may be a safety measure, it can also be viewed that the leadership has something to hide.  When I am unable to have access to my child, no less in a completely voluntary-type setting, and am treated as being guilty before being innocent, this is a major concern.  The church has itself to blame, in covering up countless abuses of children by religious, and must not treat concerned parents as criminals.

Some time ago, at a church potluck dinner, I was admonished by two senior citizens (a man and a woman) for filling an extra plate to take home to my family.  The woman stated that I should leave more food for others, and I explained to her my financial need.  The man stated to me that I basically was taking too much chicken.  In response to him, I was so offended that I said nothing.  Why is it that people are unable to put themselves in another’s shoes, even in one’s own church?!  Why is it that people see a Caucasian woman who reasonably takes care of herself and has a positive attitude, but they cannot perceive need?  Would they enjoy living at or below poverty level for many years due to various hardships?  Why is it that Caucasian single mothers are so often overlooked, blamed, disrespected, and offended by others?  This is something that has often been discouraging to experience.

Now that my schedule has changed and I have had good work opportunities, it appears that the time and efforts of both my son and I are no longer needed by the church.  This is another reason that I state that the church only appears to need those volunteers who continually have time available to minister and assist.  When the call went out for volunteers to assist with vacation Bible school, I offered a day when my son and I could help, and was turned down.  In the past, when we were both available to assist during an entire week, then it was fine.  Now that we have limited availability, we are not needed, to the point of our time and efforts being rejected.

In having lectored for a few years, I was scheduled to read once in a six month time period.  On that one day that I read, I took the day off to do so, reflecting the importance of the ministry to me…that I would sacrifice a day’s pay just to read at church!  Then, on the one other day that I was available to read, on a day off from work, in a period of three months, I was not scheduled to do so.  Others in the church, regardless of availability, often read two or three times in a three month period, yet being schedule once in six months truly shows me that I am not needed, my schedule cannot be accommodated, and people are unable to walk in my shoes.  Once I complained, efforts were made to attempt to accommodate me, however it did not appear to be something that would ultimately work out.  Thus, I do give the particular minister credit for his efforts as that is more than anyone else has done.

So, in answer to my questions originally posed, it seems that only a certain few people are able to think before they act in church and those certain few people are able to walk in others’ shoes, however it does appear that church members are no longer needed to assist, minister, and/or be involved in church activities and functions if they do not have continual time available to do so.  It is much easier for people to pass judgment on others rather than ask, “What can I do for you?,” or “What can I do to make this better for you?”

Perhaps there are some churches that have so many volunteers that they actually do not need everyone and can turn people away, however it is generally my experience that when people are not needed, valued, treated as important, and turned away, that they take their time and talents elsewhere.  That is why I left the previous church at which I was a member, and the one prior to that.  And, while I keep in mind the many positive aspects of my church, there are also a great many things that can be improved, these being a few examples.  Everyone needs to be treated with value, respect, and importance, and people must be able to walk in another’s shoes.  In absence of that, some sheep may seek a different place to graze.