Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Week 1 ~ Day 1 HIS 303 The American Constitution or My Current Class at Ashford University

I began my next class at Ashford today, and on day 1 we are asked to post our introduction. It's usually a pretty easy thing to do but recently the instructors are asking for more information. Mostly regarding the class we have chosen.

Here are the instructions for today's introduction:

Please take a moment to introduce yourself to your classmates, noting your academic, professional, and personal goals, and any other information you might want to share. Also, read the U.S. Constitution and watch the film Citizenship and Civic Responsibilities. Then respond to one of the following questions:

What passages from the Constitution do you find most surprising? Which passages did you have trouble comprehending? Was there anything you thought would be included in the Constitution but were surprised to find was not there?


Citing specific passages from the Constitution, identify how the Constitution affects you in your day-to-day life. Why is it important for citizens to be familiar with the Constitution (or not)? What aspects of the Constitution do you think many people today fail to understand or appreciate?

Here is my response, by the time I was finished I had over 1,000 words:

Hello Everyone,

My name is Vickie; I'm a 57 year old wife, mother of 3, and grandmother to 7, living in the Fayetteville, NC area.

I have been out of school for over 35 years and recently decided to return to the academic world in an effort to become more than just a HS graduate who has more life experience, but not enough education to advance in the workplace. I am currently unemployed with over 25 years in the retail field, 20 of those years in retail management.

I have chosen the field of Complementary and Alternate Health for my Bachelor’s Degree with a minor in Entrepreneurship. In August I will begin my third year here at Ashford and can see graduation just over the horizon. I hope to ultimately use my education to own and operate my own Wellness Center, where I can offer options to traditional western medical practices and  incorporate not only alternate health practices, but also include the ingredients our clients may require to continue their wellness program in the comfort of their home.

What passages from the Constitution do you find most surprising?

Article 3 Section 3 states: Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court. Many of the members of Congress have openly stated that Edward Snowden, the former employee of the NSA is guilty of treason for his part in leaking the information regarding the NSA’s ability to collect information on the average American citizen. As far as I understand the situation, Mr. Snowden has not levied war against the U.S., nor has he given aid or comfort to our enemies. He made public information on a policy and procedure for the NSA to use surveillance that was approved by former president George Bush.

Which passages did you have trouble comprehending?

Amendment 12 gives me a bit of trouble. I do not understand the need for the Electoral College for determining who is elected president. As Americans have the right to vote, I believe we the people should determine the outcome of the election.

Was there anything you thought would be included in the Constitution but were surprised to find was not there?

At this time I believe everything I can think of is covered in the Constitution.

Citing specific passages from the Constitution identify how the Constitution affects you in your day-to-day life.

On a daily basis I have discussions regarding the aspects found in the Frist Amendment and the Fourteenth Amendment.

The First Amendment states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Freedom of religion means freedom for EVERY religion. The United States was NOT formed as a Christian nation, and many of our founding fathers were among those who fled England and Europe in order to escape from religious persecution.

The Fourteenth Amendment states: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor to deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” I believe this means every citizen is guaranteed the same rights and liberties as anyone else, including those in same sex relationships. A marriage license is a legal contract obtained from a county courthouse. As a legal document every person, regardless of sexual orientation in entitled to the same rights and privileges as everyone else. A wedding ceremony is performed by a member of the clergy and if your religion or clergy member doesn’t agree with same sex marriages, you don’t need to attend or participate in their marriage or wedding ceremony.

Why is it important for citizens to be familiar with the Constitution (or not)?

I believe it is important for every American citizen to be familiar with the Constitution in order to understand exactly what their rights are as a citizen. Many times I hear people quoting the Constitution for various reasons and these same people have no idea what they are actually spouting. If you want to claim freedom of religion, then make sure you understand freedom of religion means freedom for every religion, not just your Christian point of view.

What aspects of the Constitution do you think many people today fail to understand or appreciate?

I believe many people do not understand the Second Amendment. While I fully support each person’s right to bear arms, I disagree with what we are being told in today’s world. The Second Amendment was put in place to allow the U.S. citizens the ability to assist the militia. With five branches of a fully armed military, we no longer live in a time when the average Joe needs to be prepared to take up arms against the enemy. Again, I support the right for the average American to own weapons; however I do NOT believe anyone other than the trained military should have a personal automatic weapon. There are too many people today who listen to and feed into the doom and gloom and conspiracy theories the NRA and even some politicians are bellowing. Have your shotguns, rifles and handguns; go through the appropriate background checks to obtain them. Yes I am aware background checks won’t keep criminals from getting weapons, but you won’t convince me you NEED an assault rifle or any weapon with a multi round magazine.

Reference: Yale Law School, Lillian Goldman Law Library, The Avalon Project Documents in Law, History and Diplomacy, The U.S. Constitution, retrieved on June 18, 2013, from http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/usconst.asp 

Lets see how much shit I've stirred with this one, LOL!! 

We Are Moved in and Mostly Settled

Make sure you've taken a bathroom break and have something to drink... possibly a snack too. This is MUCH longer than I had anticipated. I apologize in advance.

We've been here in the new house for two weeks now and I've finally manged to get a handle on the unpacking and putting things into place. I have got to tell you I LOVE this house. Yes, it's a double wide mobile home, yes it's on 0.6 acres of land (which means our yard is huge), and yes it's an awesome improvement over the previous place. I've held off blogging about it because I promised pictures and I wanted to get things mostly organized so I didn't take pictures of the millions (OK, just about 25) of boxes we had, LOL!!

I still have a few odds and ends I want to buy to liven up the walls and brighten up the ambiance, but I'm in no rush to do so. Since we pretty much have an *absentee* landlord (he lives in Wilmington about 2 hours away and won't be dropping in unexpected or uninvited) I want to shop around and buy what *fits* us, instead of trying to keep our lifestyle and beliefs in the closet. The previous landlord was always coming by, checking on things (unless I called and complained about the roof leaking) so I kept all my Craft secluded in the one bedroom. I have the freedom in this house to be me, the real me.  I've also added a few more *household* items to my wish list that keeps growing as the weeks go by, and again these things are gonna be purchased as I find just the right one.

Since I left most of my things in Arizona when Jimmy & I moved away from there in 2002, I've never been one for having lots of nik nacks, or Tchotchkes. It's not that I don't like decorative things, I just didn't have the setting or place to have them added to my world. And I think I was a bit depressed that I had to leave so many things behind not once but twice when we  moved from Michigan to NC in 2008. That's all about to change. I LOVE Pier One, Home Goods, and Kirkland's! I always have enjoyed browsing through the stores but never thought about incorporating the things I found into my own home. So over the next few  months, years, etc. I'm going to begin adding *dust catchers as my Dad called them* to our new home.

I promised I'd post pictures as soon as I got things pretty much how I want them to be settled, so here ya go:
This is the view of our living room from the entry way. To the right of the sectional are the 3 East facing windows that look out onto our front deck. The sectional and chair & ottoman are what we chose to replace the plum sofa & love seat we had before that wouldn't fit in through the doors here in the new house. To the right of the fireplace (it's wood burning and I am looking forward to winter) is the built in shelves and cabinets I'm using for my *main* altar. It's a work in progress and I'll post pictures as I complete it. To the left of the fireplace is the built ins I'm making into a bar area. I need to find a wine rack for my Duplin's and Starrlight Mead, and add to the collection of glasses I have. You can't tell from this picture but the chair actually has an ottoman. I have claimed this as my seating area and LOVE how comfortable it is.

The built in on the right of the fireplace. It's on the East wall and I felt it was perfect for my main altar. I have a lot of work to do here, but the basics are out and I've already put it to good use with a protection spell... The picture you see leaning against the back wall is an autographed print I was lucky enough to get from Jessica Galbreth while we lived in Michigan. She had a permanent store front at the Michigan Ren Faire until she chose to no longer paint the fantasy series. I have quite a few items I've added to my wish list for this house. The great thing about those items is that I'm  looking for things that aren't location specific and I can incorporate them into any place we move in the future. For instance, there is an area just inside the living room on the right before you get to the end table and sectional (you can't see it in the picture I took, sorry) where I want to put a potted Ficus tree. There is enough light for it to flourish, and room for it to grow and spread out. The plus of this is I can move it... anywhere.

This is a closer picture of the left side built in where I'm adding things for a bar area. Jimmy says he can add a rack to hang my stemware, so that's a plus.  Of course I *need* a wine rack to hold my bottles. As you can see there are only 3 ATM, all I can say is it's been a rough few weeks, LOL!! That just means I have a road trip to Starrlight Meadery in the near future and since we are relatively close to the Duplin Winery, I'm thinking a Saturday road trip is on the horizon as well.

Most of the walls are still bare, I left our prints and artwork in Michigan when we moved to NC. A little at a time I'll replace the things that were important to us and add new things as we grow into our life and relationship. I look forward to being able to showcase the things that bring us joy. There is one item I have a feeling I'm not going to be able to replace. When we lived in AZ, we spent quite a bit of time in Las Vegas. We absolutely LOVED  staying at the Mirage and walking through the Secret Garden with all the big cats. On our last trip, we purchased a *bust* of 2 tigers, one was a white tiger which is Jimmy's main totem. I've looked online and at various gift shops we've been through, but haven't been able to find one with the quality of workmanship as the one that was left behind.

This is the fireplace... it's wood burning and has a fan for blowing the heat out into the room. Wonder if this will help to cut down on the heating costs for the winter? I am looking forward to Yule and Christmas this year. I haven't had a mantle for stockings since the last time I celebrated the holidays with my parents in Arizona. I can imagine it with greenery, ribbons and stockings for Jimmy, Tanya, Ravyn and myself. Oooo, come on winter, LOL!!
This is a closer picture of the center mirror over the fireplace. I have a sterling silver and crystal spider hanging there. She is the link to the past and to the future, she is the grandmother and the weaver of dreams, she connects us to the spirit world and is the one who weaves the threads of our relationships, She always has a place of honor in my home. This spider web is one of the few things that somehow made the trip from Michigan. I don't even remember packing it, but found her in my box of Vickie's must have gotta go stuff when I unpacked it while we lived in the hotel for 6 months before finding our first place once we got to Raleigh. That box had the Gothique statue that sits on my altar, some candles, my Faerie books and a few bottles of essential oils.

To the left of the television is the entry way which has a narrow shelf with 3 cabinet doors. Inside these doors are two narrow shelves and above the cabinet is a large mirror. I have NO idea what to put into the cabinet, but I'm thinking about adding a plant or two to the shelf. Just have to make sure it's a shade loving plant or a *gasp* silk plant. To the right of the telly is the hallway that leads to Tanya & Ravyn's part of the house. Just inside the hallway on the left is a good sized coat closet, then Tanya's room. At the end of the hall is the linen closet and then Ravyn's room to the right of that door. Next is their bathroom and you are back into the main part of the house.

This picture shows the corner built ins. For now, I have all my books there and behind the doors are the boxes I have yet to unpack. Ravyn has a little area there as well with her books, a few toys, her coloring books and pads and her little chair. I am seriously thinking about buying either a love seat and putting it where the chair/ottoman are currently and moving the chair/ottoman to this corner to make a mini library/reading area. Either that or I'm just going to get another chair, this is one of those things that is in the want to do list, but have NO set time frame to accomplish it.

To the right of the built in you can see the snack bar where I have hung my Faerie besom. It was actually the first thing I hung/placed in the house. Even before the furniture was delivered or arranged. I made this from a rustic cinnamon broom that I found on one of our trips to South Carolina. The faerie sitting on her is one that hung in my window but kept falling out (guess she didn't like all the bright light, LOL) and the ribbon bow is from the Yule wreath for 2011 when I use blue and purple decorations. I LOVE being able to re-purpose things... and I've found a few second hand stores to feed my addiction.

WOW! This turned out to be lots longer than I anticipated, but not to worry, I'm almost finished. Next in the tour is the kitchen. The first time I saw this house I was by myself, no Jimmy, no Tanya... all by my lonesome. So after I paid the deposit and was given access to it even during the construction I made quite a few trips over to see the progress. I brought Jimmy with me on one of those trips and he was worried the kitchen was too small.
It IS a lot smaller than the place we just moved from and smaller than you would think this big house should  have, but it's much more organized with a better layout. It's a galley style kitchen and it works GREAT for me. Sides, I'm very particular about my kitchen and who cooks in it so the fit is perfect as far as I'm concerned. I don't waste steps while cooking nor do I have to worry about extra cabinet space to keep clean. The only *problem* I found is there aren't enough overhead cabinets, but I decided to put my dishes and glasses in the built in cabinet in the dining room. I'm more than pleased with that choice...

Speaking of the built in in the dining room, there are 3 doors as you can see, behind each door are two shelves giving me three levels to put things. In the far left are all my teas and tea brewing items. I think there are probably 15 or so canisters of tea on the bottom shelf. The middle portion has bowls, glassware, cloth napkins and my carving set. The right side stores my tableware, some more glasses and serving pieces. The cabinet underneath houses plastic *gasp* glasses and miscellaneous things I could find a home for. My canning jars are in the right side, both shelves. When I was told they weren't going to put carpet back in the dining room I coulda walked on water. There is nothing worse as far as I'm concerned than trying to clean the carpet under the table where every one eats at least twice a day.

Almost finished! Here's the master bedroom. These windows are 32 inches wide and I didn't want to have mini blinds on them. So, I put a single panel from the curtains I had in the Craft room in the other house on each window, added a drapery hook to hold them back and I have instant swagged curtains. The wall paper is a floral with burgundy, teal green, blue, light peach and cream. I knew I had blue linens so I picked that color out of the wallpaper and ran with it. I can't decide what to put on the empty wall above the bed. It's a toss up between this or both of these.

This is my makeup table which fits perfectly into the alcove between the 2 large closets. It's on the east facing wall and I have more than enough natural light for doing my makeup and I can open the curtain and let the moon shine into the bedroom as well. And while the closets are not walk in, they are more than large enough for all Jimmy's clothes and I'm still able to store his fishing gear in his without the worry of messing something up. My closet is a tiny bit bigger and all my clothes and shoes fit with no problem, LOL!! Besides if I had a larger closet I'd just need more clothes and shoes to fill it up and that would mean more to move next time... NOT!!

This is the area at the foot of the bed (have I told you this bedroom is MUCH larger than the master in the other house?) where we have chosen to put the *office*. Everything fits nicely on this wall and we still have more than enough room to move around without banging onto the furniture. Our desk is the table from my Craft room so when I get back into the sewing mode, I'll be using the dining room table for that. The wireless printer is on the left of the desk are and the shelves on the right with the TV will eventually be replaced by an upright chest of drawers.

Two more and you will have had the grand tour via photos of the new Chateau L'Esperance. Finally we come to the room that has proven to be my sanctuary and my sanity. For many people all you'd see is a large bathroom. And it is that... a large master bathroom. To me, it's the place I can go to at the end of my day and have just a tiny bit of alone time while I soak away the day in a candle lit lavender bubble bath, or stand under the shower massage and work out the kinks in my upper back and shoulders. Again, this room is a work in progress. In the near future I'll be adding some more towels, a couple bath rugs and maybe even a few wall hangings of some sort. The first photo is of my side. I chose this side because it has more storage space and what woman doesn't have more need for bathroom storage than their man? It's also the side with the HUGE tub. I love this tub! It's deep and perfect size for me to stretch out in...ahhhh.

This is the side I delegated to Jimmy... it is smaller by one cabinet and is on the same side as the shower. There is more than enough storage for both of us and a little left over in spite of all my *personal hygiene items*, LOL!! There used to be a set of double doors from the master bedroom to the master bath, I had Jimmy take them down and it really opened up the entire combined rooms. 

Well, there you have the whole shebang, and I apologize for it being SO long. But, I know me and if I had tried to split it up into two or more posts I would have lost interest and I'd never gotten around to sharing. I sincerely hope you weren't bored and thanks so much for sticking it out and taking the whole tour. 

I didn't give you any pictures of the outside yet... I haven't had much time to work on the deck or the flower beds. And we have a nasty invasion of ants. I'm allergic to ant bites so I stay out of their way as much as I can. We have some diatomaceous earth on order for our infestations (we also have ticks and fleas and mosquitoes, *sigh*) and as soon as I am comfortable being outside with all the critters, I'll work on the outside and post those pictures too.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Thinking Bout Things Tuesday

It's been so crazy hectic busy here in the Sand Hills and I haven't had time or energy to sit down and actually do any serious blogging. I still don't, but there are a few things on my mind and I'm in the mood to share. If you find these items are tiresome, that's OK. Just stop reading, you won't hurt my feelings at all...

1. In my post from last night I let you all know we have finally moved out of the death trap with all the black mold and the health issues I was having. I can happily report I haven't had to buy stock in a paper towel company because my nose has stopped running. I think I'm more excited about this than some of the other improvements to my health. I cannot explain fully enough how much my nose was running and how irritated I was by the non stop constant water faucet that was more commonly known as my nose.

Along with this particular improvement there are a few more: I no longer have the constant headache, nor am I wheezing. The muscle aches are almost gone as well and so is the never ending cough. I believe I am on the mend. YAY! It's about damn time. Being sick for over six months is NO fun at all.

2. The new neighborhood is QUIET! No small annoying dogs yapping uncontrollably each time I step outside. I can enjoy my yard and deck without the nosy neighbors breaking their necks to see what I am doing. I swear while we were loading the truck on Saturday they found any excuse to be at the fence line between our yard and theirs to see what the hell we were doing. ( Between you and me, I'm actually waiting to see if they will follow me home from the grocery one of these day just to see where we moved. They ARE that nosy!)

The streets in this neighborhood are actually paved and even. No climbing an unstable dirt road hill to find even pavement to walk on. All I gotta do is walk out my driveway. I plan to begin walking around the neighborhood in the evenings before it gets dark, just after sunset when the temperatures have cooled a bit. Right now it's not too hot, but those hot southern nights are just around the corner. There are a lot of families here, children riding bikes and playing catch in the streets. Kinda like Wabash Street where my kids grew up  in Arizona.

3. I did not bring any of my plants with me to the new house. I know I said I was going to and that was my intention. I made the difficult decision not to cause I was worried about how they would survive being transplanted at this time of the year. I'm just going to start over and use pots so IF we move again I can just grab the posts and off we go.

Since moving in here I have discovered there is a good sized gardenia bush on the front of the house which faces east, and it's getting ready to bloom. It is a different species than the one I left behind, so I'm looking forward to seeing the blooms. I also am now the caretaker of 3 rose bushes. One is a knockout blush colored and the other two are red and a coral color. The red and coral are planted too close together and too close to the knockout so I need to move them.. later... in the fall.

4. According to NC Child Support Jimmy's child support arrears will be paid off in about 6 weeks, which will give us a substantial amount to add to the savings account. However, Vermont has a different amount, and I can't get any straight answers as to WHICH amount is the correct one. Before you even ask, YES I am authorized to speak on Jimmy's behalf since he is on the road and rarely has the chance to talk to anyone about business matters. If the correct amount is what Vermont is showing it will be 12 weeks before it is completely paid.

I swear I am SO over dealing with more than one child support agency. Even when he was still living, working and paying child support in Vermont their figures never stacked up. One month he was showing he was in arrears so they take his tax return, then the next 4 months they show him over paid. Then in arrears the next month. Even though his payments are coming directly from his pay before he even sees that check, he still managed to get behind. Oh well, the good thing is he's almost finished. Wanna know the sad thing? He hasn't seen his kids since they were about Ravyn's age and he has court ordered visitation that the ex wife has refused to acknowledge. Those girls are now adults over 21...BOTH of them.

5. A few weeks ago I blogged about the way some people seem to think they have the market cornered on being a spiritual person. If you didn't see that entry go on over and check it out. I am pretty sure one of the people I had in mind has removed themselves from the Blog O Sphere. Ya see, for some reason, they always ended  up in my reader and no matter how many times I hit that damn unfollow button, there they were. For the past week or so, I've been pest free. And the FB profile is locked down tighter than Ft. Knox.

I believe this is a good thing. This person was always trying to convince the people who read their blog what a great and upstanding Christian they were/are. Unfortunately, they were so full of contradictions it began to be repetitive every time they posted a blog it was the same exact thing. Talk about boring... Anyway, it's possible they finally caught a clue and figured out no one wanted to read what they had to say and just stopped posting all together. Or, I guess they also could have created a blog and only allow a person to read it by invitation. That's OK too cause that means they won't show up randomly in any of the blogs I read and follow.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Moving...

Let me begin by saying up front that I absolutely despise moving. The sorting, the packing, the carting the boxes to the new house and then the dreaded unpacking and trying to find a place for everything. But we did it ... again, *sigh.

We picked up the keys on Friday May 24th and began the process of transferring all the utilities and getting everything in place to move this past weekend when Jimmy had asked for time off. Because I had worked myself into an anxiety attack by Thursday morning, I told Jimmy he was in charge and I was just gonna sit back and do what he asked me to. For anyone of you who know me, this was a huge, HUGE challenge for me to say, let alone actually do. Yeah, I will admit it, I am a control freak, I MUST control each and every situation I orchestrate or I cannot function. Not the past 5 days... I gave over complete control of my life and immediate surroundings to another person and just rolled with it. And it worked...

Thursday afternoon our furniture was supposed to be moved, as the day got later, I got a bit worried. So I called to check to see if we were still on schedule. They had forgotten about us... but sent a truck out to load our furniture, everything except our bed. Jimmy is waiting at the new house for the appliance delivery... which  never came. at. ALL! So, I'm on the phone trying to find the stove and refrigerator, the movers come to load up our furniture, they get it to the new house and the sofa won't fit in through the entry...neither the front OR the back. All the ceilings in the new place are vaulted... except the entry ways... they are low enough I can stand on tip toe and touch them with my fingers.

The confusion with the appliances is cleared up and they will be delivered on Friday between 1 & 3. At 10 AM on Friday morning, Jimmy & I go off to find new living room furniture, and we decide on a small sectional with a chaise on one end and a coordinating chair and ottoman. We get this delivery scheduled between 12 and 4. Things are looking good so far. All the deliveries are made during the window we have been given and I am not only relieved, I am over the moon. Finally things are falling into place and we can take a deep breath and relax.

Saturday morning comes and Jimmy says we are going room by room beginning in the master bedroom. OK, I say let's do this. By the end of the day of Saturday we have moved more than 85% of our stuff, set up the bed in the new house so we aren't sleeping on the floor, unpacked a few of the boxes and it's time for showers and my first soak in the new DEEP tub... ahhhhh, I have found heaven in a bath tub, LOL!!

Sunday we go back over to the old place, and it takes 3 more loads in our Ascender (SUV) and Tanya loads her pickup with the things from our outside storage shed. We are finished by 3PM and I've completely had more than I want to relive ever again. By finished I mean FINISHED! All moved out, picked up and cleaned. I am DONE with that moldy hell pit.

I'm slowly putting things together, the altar area is a work in progress, the master bath has not been touched and the living room is the only space I can say looks like someone actually lives here. Tomorrow I'll probably work on Jimmy's side of the master bath since he has lots less than I do, LOL! After I get the house somewhat put together I'll post some pictures so you can see what our new place looks like.

OH! That thing up there where I gave over control to someone else? Well, don't get used to seeing it happen, just sayin...