Timing is Everything

Thursday (February 20), I drove an hour and a half to meet with our GI Rights counselors, Lenore Yarger and Steve Woolford. They work off site, and I try to sit down with them a few times a year. This meeting went a little longer than the others because, in addition to talking about how work is going (need for more reliable internet and cell phone coverage for them), we discussed some wider Network hopes for better fundraising efforts, tried out an extra powercord they had on my laptop (we have the same laptops)–which worked!, and . . . the most basic introduction to training me on GI Rights counseling.

Quaker House was established in 1969 specifically out of Quaker interactions with a soldier at Ft. Bragg seeking discharge from the Army as a conscientious objector. Therefore, one of the main roles of the executive directors was counseling for service members, and also for youth regarding the Selective Service and draft. Steve and Lenore started doing counseling with Quaker House in 1999 (and the GI Rights Network (GIRN) had formed out of the partnering of various military counseling groups a few years prior to this, in 1994). In 2000, there was a short lull in time between directors at Quaker House when Phil Esmonde left and before Chuck Fager started. Steve and Lenore kept things going and, after that, most of the military counseling was handled by them while the director of Quaker House focused on other aspects of peace work.

Since I have been executive director (September 2017), I have taken a more active role in the GIRN conferences and on that board again, and I have had a growing conviction that the Quaker House director needs to get back to our director roots of military counseling (along with continuing to support the other programs of Quaker House!). Thus, Thursday was that initial step. It will be slow gradual training because I still have a lot on my plate. I am excited and convinced this is a good direction, though. I also could not have better trainers.

Steve and Lenore also served me a delicious lunch of lentil stew, salad with the most beautiful sprouts I have ever seen, and grilled cheese sandwiches. How lucky am I?

Just as I left for the hour and a half drive back to Quaker House, the snow began to fall.

I had double-booked myself for that evening: The initial session of “Dialogues for Civic Leadership,” sponsored by the William C. Friday Fellowship for Human Relationships and the Wildacres Leadership Initiative, and led by Meredith Doster, and the National Organzation for Women (NOW) Susan B. Anthony dinner honoring the amazing Sylvia Ray (who is also a wonderful neighbor). As soon as I got home, I checked my emails. The Leadership session had been rescheduled because of the snow, but not the NOW dinner. After sitting down for just a second, I changed clothes and was off through the night and snow to the dinner. I am so glad I was able to attend this (and not miss the other)!

Sylvia award 02.20.2020
Betsy Stuart presenting Sylvia Ray with the Susan B. Anthony Award with NOW Fayetteville chapter president, Roberta Waddle, seated at the head table. Thanks to VFW Post 6018 for the venue space.

When I got back to Quaker House, the inside of the new heat pump was encased in ice and causing the metal fan blades to clang against the edges of ice. One of the people on the property committee had predicted this would be a problem because of its location under the eaves (the only place to put it) because we do not have gutters. We are in the Historic District. No gutters. At least, no gutters can be visible from the road. The plan is to control the runoff from the roof and build a protective rain/sleet/snow sheild for the heat pump (both to be not visible from the road and with the Historic Commission’s knowledge). However, that property committee member just recently had major eye surgery.

heat pump outside 02.21.2020

So, I dropped the thermostat for the rest of the night. This morning, I knew that by around 2:00 pm, the heat pump would be fully bathed in sunlight, but I did not feel like waiting that long for warmth. So, I spent about an hour with a hair dryer thawing the edges of the obstructing ice ledge-and was grateful for the warm air pouring out of the vents when I raised the thermostat once again.

hair dryer 02.21.2020

Of course, next Wednesday, February 26, we should have a gas line running to the gas fireplace stove, and it would not have been such a big deal to wait for the warmth of the sun.

living room Rebar sun 02.21.2020


Open Sesame

Anyone who has pets knows they are intelligent (usually) and they figure out your routines and indicators. Rebar the Dog knows that when I grab the flexi-lead, we are going on a trail instead of around the neighborhood. When I am teaching for VIPKid in the morning, he blissfully sleeps through class(es) and knows that we will go out once I am done.

This morning, the routines were a little delayed because I had had more restful sleep last night than I have had in recent memory. I woke up without a headache or migraine (huge because catching migraines early makes such a big difference in getting them to go away). My bed was warm. I did not remember waking up several times in the night. I was so surprised by this rare phenomenon that I stopped to jot down everything I could that might give me a clue of how to repeat it.

I looked up from my notes to see Sophie the Cat sitting staring at the front door. Sophie is an indoor cat. She has accepted her lot in life and never asks to go out. Yet, here she was staring resolutely and telepathically at the door like she was staring at her food bowl when it has a bit of the bowl showing at the bottom. I can only surmise one of two things: 1. She was trying to let me know that Rebar would like to get going on our Morning Adventure (she usually pretends to not care about Rebar) or 2. Knowing that as we leave I open the blinds for her, she wanted us to get on with it so that her view of the world would be restored. I may never know her intent, but she cracked me up, nonetheless.

leaf 02.18.2020 Clark Park
hanging on


creek 02.18.2020 Clark Park
The Cape Fear River creeks are still running high.

My Quaker House work laptop has been dead while awaiting a replacement battery. The battery came today (much later than its estimated arrival, probably because it was not allowed on airplanes). I just swapped them out . . . and it appears to no avail. I’m a little crushed, probably to some extent because, now, I am very tired, (mail did not get here until 7:00 pm) and I really believed that this was the magic fix.

laptop battery

* * * * *

Operation Condor/Crypto: “‘They have always suspected U.S. participation, and knowledge is a form of participation,’ [Carlos] Osorio said.”

“A senior diplomat from South America said the reaction among the countries identified as targets in the Crypto operation has been one of ‘surprise and appallment,’ but also one of resignation about U.S. hypocrisy.” Washington Post, February 18, 2018, Kindle Edition, Greg Miller and Peter F. Mueller, “CIA’s window into brutal S. American campaign.”

shrine 02.18.2020

Still Life

Rebar and Kids 02.17.2020

I went to the weekly Buddhist meditation group. I still feel like an explorer/investigator, but I have always believed the best way to truly learn about something is by immersion. One of the aspects that drew me to look into Buddhism a little more is that it gave me more of a reason. I had decided that if it was just a tool for that, that was enough to delve into it more deeply and see what was there. But last night, some of the participants shared some truly remarkable and special experiences. I am grateful that they were comfortable sharing them with the group.

old house 02.17.2020
Old house (under renovation?), seen this morning.