Saturday, November 28, 2015

A Big Saturday

Bob and I went to breakfast at Sirloin Stockade as usual this morning. Afterward I came home and read awhile and then started dinner. We had our leftover tuna cakes and fried potatoes and salad and broccoli. We had pudding and cookies for dessert.  After that, I went back out to church and finished putting ornaments on the new Christmas tree Leslie and I worked on yesterday afternoon. I had taken out some more hooks.

Then I began my personal newsletter for those I send one out to each year. I will begin putting my Christmas cards together and getting them ready to mail. I will need to buy eight "special" Christmas cards for my kids and grandkids. I bought stamps today for that project.

Then I went to the Dollar General store at the end of my block and bought a few more Christmas decorations. I paid some bills and then went downtown and looked around some. It rained most of the day off and on. I was bored. I had hoped to get my Christmas tins for my Christmas chocolate peanut clusters. But V & S Variety was closed. Maybe I can get them on Monday.

I sent out a notice to my class members, the class of 1953, that I was going to print off another newsletter for the class and they would need to send me their news. I heard from three of them already and they will begin putting together their thoughts. I will need stamps and ink cartridges from the class bank account since I will send it out as hard copy just to those who are not online. Those who are online will get it in e-mail or attached to e-mail.

Bob didn't come over this evening. He was watching football games. So I took my bath early and Missy and I sat in the recliner and watched the CNN special on the seventies. It made me nostalgic. I was so young in the seventies.

Tomorrow morning I will make my coffeecake and will be the one to drive to church. I invited my neighbor Marilyn R and she is going to go to church with us. After church we will all eat out somewhere. I hope Marilyn will enjoy our little group.

I've had my bath and am ready for bed. So there will be more tomorrow.

Good Night all!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Friday and Decorating the Church

I slept well again last night. I feel so good when I get plenty of uninterrupted sleep.

Today, sometime, we will decorate the church for the holiday. I haven't heard when we will meet yet.  I got busy last night and decorated my apartment. Everything except the Christmas tree is done. Sometime later today, I will put that up. Then it will be a fight to keep Missy out from under it. Last year certainly was. I used my green place mats as a tree skirt. When I threw away my old broken Christmas tree, I put most of my old Christmas decorations in the church's rummage sale that year. Now I will look at the flea markets for some more things to decorate the rest of the apartment. I have the dining room and the living room pretty much done except for the tree. But I have nothing for the two bedrooms. We will see.

I am about ready to go have my breakfast and give Missy her treats and breakfast too. After breakfast, I put my tree up too.  I will put some photos on here later.

I don't have my gifts wrapped yet so the bottom of the tree looks pretty barren. Also, I want to find a wreath for that door behind the tree. 

This is my dining room window. It's a little dark for a photo.

This is my dining room server. I decorate it too.

So..more later.

Well we went out at 9:00 and there were only four of us to do it so it needs some more help. Leslie went to do her report at Four County and then she will buy a new Christmas tree and if she calls me, I will go back out and help her decorate it.

Meanwhile, I fixed lunch for Bob and me and got the dishwasher going. We had leftovers from this meal but I just put them in the frig.When I got home Missy had been under my tree and messed up the tree skirt and knocked an ornament off too.   Darn Cat! Can't trust her at all.

I will download the photos I took of the church so readers can see how nice it looks so far. 

This is the sanctuary.

This is the foyer table.  It has the nativity set on it.

More later....

Leslie called me when she bought the Christmas tree and I met her out there to help her decorate it.  Then we organized the storage closet again. We put the Christmas tree in front of that blank wall on the left.

When I got home I was surprised to notice that Missy had not been back in my Christmas tree.  My paper was here and also my mail. I read the paper...such as it was...and threw away half the mail...trash.

Now I have had my cup of Chia Latte and a couple of cookies and also my yogurt. I am full now. Missy is in on the daybed. She has been there ever since I got home. She sleeps a lot.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thursday and Thanksgiving Day

Today is Thanksgiving and if anyone has anything to be thankful's me! I have three great children and I have my health.  Plus...I have lots of friends. What else could anyone want? Bob and I are taking Denise and Dee, his daughter and granddaughter,  over to "Just Us" for Thanksgiving dinner.  Leslie is on call today and could not have the family for Thanksgiving. So since the weather has turned rainy and stormy, we cancelled our trip to Branson and will instead take the family over to "Just Us". I called Kay last week when we saw the rain forecast and made reservations for 1:30 today. She will have tons of dinner guests there. I'm quite sure we are not the only ones in this situation.

It is forecast to start raining about 3:00 this afternoon and change to freezing rain over the weekend...maybe even snow.

I slept really well last night. I woke up only once and went right back to sleep.

To all bloggers who may visit here today....Happy Thanksgiving!

More later...

If I can remember, I will take some photos over at "Just Us". Then later post them here. The rain started about an hour ago at 11:00. So we will drive over to Cherryvale in the rain. I hope we can stay dry getting in and out of the car.

I spent a couple of hours this morning cleaning up my small laptop computer. It needed to have the virus removal program, Avast,  run over the entire system. It took over two hours but the program found a lot of corrupted files and three malware and removed the malware.

Leslie called this morning. She just wanted to check on me. Scott also texted me and wished me a Happy Thanksgiving.  And Keith also called. This has been a great Thanksgiving even before dinner. It was nice that the kids were thinking of me on this holiday. It's the first one I haven't spent with family. Well, Bob is my brother-in-law and his daughter is my niece and his granddaughter is my great niece.  So I guess they are family all right. Leslie is on call this weekend so she couldn't have the family this year and I don't have enough room here in the apartment.

It's nearly noon now and our Thanksgiving dinner is at 1:30. So we won't leave here until about 1:00.

We got to the restaurant a little early but Kay was able to seat us. Some people had not wanted to brave the rain to go to that dinner so she had room for us early. Hopefully they came out all right on their food.  It was good! Unfortunately, I forgot to take photos.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Wednesday and Leftover Chili

I slept very well last night. Missy did too. She certainly didn't disturb me. I got up at usual. I did my usual morning stuff.

I don't have a plan for today.  I do need to go to the market. I have developed quite a list.  That's about all I have to do. We will finish off our chili from Monday. We still have Freetos,  crackers and cheese so we should do fine. We will either have fruit and cookies for dessert or pudding and cookies.

Today is supposed to be mild and in the 60's. It is supposed to be very cold this weekend. It's supposed to pour down rain tomorrow for Thanksgiving. Bob and I and Denise and Dee will be going over to Cherryvale to "Just Us" for Thanksgiving dinner.  Leslie is on call Thanksgiving and cannot host our Thanksgiving dinner. They will just have a Cornish hen and stay at home. Bob and I were going to go to Branson for Thanksgiving but the weather became doubtful and lots of rain is in the forecast so we changed our plan. That will be fine. Leslie can have Christmas dinner and I will help. We have to be flexible.

Before the rain starts this afternoon, I may get my flowers pulled up in the flower bed on the east of the apartment. That's the one John made for me when I moved in here. The flowers are finished. The Dusty Miller may still be alright. It's pretty hardy.  When it gets light I will take some photos of that flowerbed. Yesterday the leaves were so thick that I got out the blower and blew them off my carport. It didn't do a lot of good. The wind blew them right back on it. It's a losing game.  Leaves are piled up around my air conditioning unit. I don't know what I will do about that. It may have to be me that bags them next spring. I'm sure not going to turn on that air conditioning unit with all those leaves still there.

Here are the leaves I will have to clean up.

And here are the dead flowers I will deal with later today.

Oh well, I have nothing else I need to do.

More later...

We managed to eat the rest of the chili.  We also had pudding and cookies for dessert. That was the last of the cookies too.  Later this afternoon, I'll bake some more.  Right now I am resting up after lunch.

The wind has come up something fierce. It will blow that rain in that's for sure.  It's supposed to start this evening and then pour all day tomorrow. I probably won't get those flowers pulled up today. It's too windy to get out there.

I did a small load of laundry this morning after I got back from Wal Mart.  That should hold me until Monday.  Bob brought his sheets over and did them this morning. It wasn't a very big load and when I got back from Wal Mart, he came over and emptied the dryer.

More later...

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Tuesday and Hair Day and Juanita's Checkbook

Today I will go to have my hair done and then go to see Juanita and balance her checkbook.  Bob will go with me and visit with his sister, Betty, while I do that.  Juanita gave me a neat card for my birthday and enclosed a $20.00 bill as a gift.  When I picked up Bob we went to Big Cheese for lunch and I bought his lunch as a part of Juanita's birthday gift to me.

Afterward, We came back home and I dropped him off at his apartment. Then I went to fill my car with gas. Here it's $1.59 per gallon.

When I got home, I worked on my December 29th sermon. It's a ways off but it's better to be prepared. I will be 80 by then and so it never hurts to be prepared. One never knows what may happen. Bobby found that out....the hard way. Missy is lying in the recliner.... dozing.... across the room from me.

In a little while I may go over to Countrytime Antique Mall and look around. I may see something I can't live without.  :)

It does me good to walk around occasionally. I don't get as much exercise as I used to when I was working.

More later....

Bob caught up with me there and we went over to Braums for a hamburger.  Later he came over to pay some bills with his computer. Then he stayed for the news and Big Bang Theory reruns until 7:00.

Then after he went home, I took my bath and sat with Missy in the recliner. She looks forward to that every evening. We will go to bed at 9:00

Monday, November 23, 2015

Monday and Housecleaning day and Laundry

I didn't sleep so well last night. I was upset about the way the meeting went last night. After we watched the video on the compassion of Jesus, and had a little bit of discussion, Marilyn began to read Spong's remarks about the Paris terrorist attack. Mona exploded. She ranted for quite awhile about what was so much more terrible about the Paris terrorist attacks then the bombings of Iraq and Syria. Marilyn L. just gave up the effort. Mona is Egyptian and therefore looks at the political situation here differently than most Americans do. But the mood was ruined. Her husband also has a brain tumor and he makes some pretty irrational remarks too. So the entire discussion of the Living the Questions video was dropped.  I considered the evening a fiasco. I had invited my neighbor, Marilyn R, and I was glad at that point that she did not accept my invitation this time.

I want to talk to Marilyn L and Karan about what they think we should do about the meetings. Perhaps it is time to give them up. Bobby has this terrible virulent brain tumor and is actually living on borrowed time. I'm sure Karan is having a time trying to deal with that and if he isn't, it's a miracle.

So anyhow, I just got up at 4:50 and stripped my bed and began the laundry. I will make up my face and go in and have some breakfast. Maybe I can figure this all out after I eat.

More later...

I discussed the situation with my brother-in-law this morning.  He suggested we might recess the classes until spring to get us through the holidays and the winter.  We'll consider that but I want to talk to both Marilyn L and Karan before we do anything different. I'll see Marilyn L. at 3:00 this afternoon.  And then I'll try to talk to Karan about it after that.

In the meantime, I have begun my housecleaning. I have the dining room the kitchen and the bathroom done and have just finished the den. I will do my bedroom next and then the living room. I got the bed remade after that load of laundry was finished. The towels and Missy's mat is in the dryer now.

More later...

O.K. I've finished my housecleaning and laundry now and am just relaxing now and checking my e-mail.  It's only 10:00 so I have plenty of time until lunch. I have our chili going now in the slow cooker. The table is set and everything else is ready too. I have washed my new jeans wrong side out and in cold water like they suggested on the label. They would fade all over everything if I didn't do that. They are in the dryer now.

We had our chili for lunch and then I took some over to Marilyn R, across the way. 

I did visit Marilyn and she does not want to even give up the group for the winter.. She says we are a support group for one another and of course, she's right.  Then I went to see Bobby and Karan and they agreed with Marilyn and do not want to give it up either. They are trying, despite the odds, to keep their lives as "normal" as possible.

I came home in time to meet Bob coming over. He stayed until 7:00 and then had the rest of the apple brown betty with me. When he went home, I took my bath and sat with Missy in the recliner until 9:00 when I went to bed.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Sunday and Living the Questions Group and Yes, Politics

Today I will go to church and deliver my sermon and afterward a group of us will go to lunch. Then I will come home and do my congregational newsletter and later in the afternoon, prepare my apple brown betty dessert for the refreshments for the group tonight. I don't know exactly how many will come. Mona and her family have responded that they will come.  

It will be another busy day.

Tomorrow I will strip my bed do laundry and clean the apartment again. That too will be a busy day.

I have been watching CNN this morning and an interview of Donald Trump.  That man is scary. He will get us into an all out war. And he's delusional. He says after 9/11 he saw thousands of people in New York's Arab community cheering as the buildings came down. The police say that never happened. Who do we believe? The scary part is not the candidate but the fact tat so many people are ignorant enough to actually support him. If he is elected president, I will know my belief is true that a majority of the American people are ignorant.   When I see thousands gathering for his events, I am scared to death! The man is a bigot and his proposed policies are scary. He is favoring bringing back waterboarding in interrogations and keeping a database on immigrants. Doesn't he know that any immigrant coming into the country is facing a two year wait to even get in while they are thoroughly vetted?  Amazing! he is playing on the ignorance of the masses.

I can not tell you how frustrating it is to see the misinformation and outright lies that are being perpetuated about the refugee process and the Syrian refugees. So, here is a bit of information from the real world of someone who actually works and deals with this issue.

The refugee screening process is multi-layered and is very difficult to get through. Most people languish in temporary camps for months to years while their story is evaluated and checked.

First, you do not get to choose what country you might be resettled into. If you already have family (legal) in a country, that makes it more likely that you will go there to be with family, but other than that it is random. So, you can not simply walk into a refugee camp, show a document, and say, I want to go to America. Instead, the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees) works with the local authorities to try to take care of basic needs. Once the person/family is registered to receive basic necessities, they can be processed for resettlement. Many people are not interested in resettlement as they hope to return to their country and are hoping that the turmoil they fled will be resolved soon. In fact, most refugees in refugee events never resettle to a third country. Those that do want to resettle have to go through an extensive process.

Resettlement in the U.S. is a long process and takes many steps. The Refugee Admissions Program is jointly administered by the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) in the Department of State, the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and offices within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) within DHS conducts refugee interviews and determines individual eligibility for refugee status in the United States.

They evaluate refugees on a tiered system with three levels of priority.

First Priority are people who have suffered compelling persecution or for whom no other durable solution exists. These individuals are referred to the United States by UNHCR, or they are identified by the U.S. embassy or a non-governmental organization (NGO).

Second Priority are groups of “special concern” to the United States. The Department of State determines these groups, with input from USCIS, UNHCR, and designated NGOs. At present, we prioritize certain persons from the former Soviet Union, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Iran, Burma, and Bhutan.

Third Priority are relatives of refugees (parents, spouses, and unmarried children under 21) who are already settled in the United States may be admitted as refugees. The U.S.-based relative must file an Affidavit of Relationship (AOR) and must be processed by DHS.

Before being allowed to come to the United States, each refugee must undergo an extensive interviewing, screening, and security clearance process conducted by Regional Refugee Coordinators and overseas Resettlement Support Centers (RSCs). Individuals generally must not already be firmly resettled (a legal term of art that would be a separate article). Just because one falls into the three priorities above does not guarantee admission to the United States.

The Immigration laws require that the individuals prove that they have a “well-founded fear,” (another legal term which would be a book.) This fear must be proved regardless of the person’s country, circumstance, or classification in a priority category. There are multiple interviews and people are challenged on discrepancies. My friend, who works for immigration and provided this information had a client who was not telling the truth on her age and the agency challenged her on it. Refugees are not simply admitted because they have a well founded fear. They still must show that they are not subject to exclusion under Section 212(a) of the INA. These grounds include serious health matters, moral or criminal matters, as well as security issues. In addition, they can be excluded for such things as polygamy, misrepresentation of facts on visa applications, smuggling, or previous deportations. Under some circumstances, the person may be eligible to have the ground waived.

At this point, a refugee can be conditionally accepted for resettlement. Then, the RSC sends a request for assurance of placement to the United States, and the Refugee Processing Center (RPC) works with private voluntary agencies (VOLAG) to determine where the refugee will live. If the refugee does have family in the U.S., efforts will be made to resettle close to that family.

Every person accepted as a refugee for planned admission to the United States is conditional upon passing a medical examination and passing all security checks. Frankly, there is more screening of refugees than ever happens to get on an airplane. Of course, yes, no system can be 100% foolproof. But if that is your standard, then you better shut down the entire airline industry, close the borders, and stop all international commerce and shipping. Every one of those has been the source of entry of people and are much easier ways to gain access to the U.S. Only upon passing all of these checks (which involve basically every agency of the government involved in terrorist identification) can the person actually be approved to travel.
Before departing, refugees sign a promissory note to repay the United States for their travel costs. This travel loan is an interest-free loan that refugees begin to pay back six months after arriving in the country.

Once the VOLAG is notified of the travel plans, it must arrange for the reception of refugees at the airport and transportation to their housing at their final destination.

This process from start to finish averages 18 to 24 months, but he has seen it take years.

The reality is that about half of the refugees are children, another quarter are elderly. Almost all of the adults are either moms or couples coming with children. Each year the President, in consultation with Congress, determines the numerical ceiling for refugee admissions. For Fiscal Year (FY) 2016, the proposed ceiling is 85,000. We have been averaging about 70,000 a year for the last number of years. (Source: Refugee Processing Center)

Over one-third of all refugee arrivals (35.1 percent, or 24,579) in FY 2015 came from the Near East/South Asia—a region that includes Iraq, Iran, Bhutan, and Afghanistan.

Another third of all refugee arrivals (32.1 percent, or 22,472) in FY 2015 came from Africa.

Over a quarter of all refugee arrivals (26.4 percent, or 18,469) in FY 2015 came from East Asia — a region that includes China, Vietnam, and Indonesia. (Source: Refugee Processing Center)

Finally, the process in Europe is different. He would be much more concerned that terrorists are infiltrating the European system because they are not nearly so extensive and thorough in their process.

More later....

Well, I got everything done and after the group left, I took my bath and sat with Missy in the recliner for awhile. I  am very tired.  I went to bed at 10:00.