Throwback – I wash (and dry) my hands of it!

I know it’s a little late for a Throwback Thursday post, but I just had to share this sight that awaited me at work today.

hand dryer.png
How long has it been since you’ve seen one of these things?  I asked my coworkers and one person’s reply was, “Gross.  Truck stop maybe 10 years ago”.  Another quickly replied, “I’m gonna go with “never” for 800, Alex.”  Clever coworkers I have.

I remember last (and probably first) seeing one of these older towel dispensers in Italy back in April 2013.  I wasn’t quite sure how to handle it, and I too was grossed out by it.  Yet I’m the same girl who wipes her face in her body towel and doesn’t wash it for close to two weeks.  So maybe I need to rethink my standards of what counts as gross.

This contraption is known as a reusable towel roll.  The idea is that after washing your hands, you can tug on the towel and expose a portion of “fresh” towel with which to dry your hands.  It turns out that these continuous roll systems are (according to some) the most hygienic hand drying tool available.  Apparently, people do not do a good job in general of washing their hands thoroughly, so often it is the hand drying portion that in fact removes more bacteria from the hands by way of either heat or mechanical means (i.e. wiping the hands).  I never thought about it, but according to the hand washing experts, wet hands actually transmit much more bacteria than dry hands.  Some interesting things I learned from this article as to the negative repercussions of other hand-drying systems….

  • Paper towels often do not make it in the trash can.  Guess where some end up.  That’s right – inside the toilet.  The paper towels clog them.  Thus leading to more contaminated restrooms.
  • You know those fancy Dyson dryers with narrow openings you stick your hands in?  Those may get your hands dry quickly, but they might actually be blowing the bacteria off of your hands with those high speed fans but then back into the air or your clothes.  In fact, some FDA regulations require that food establishments with this style of hand dryer actually have other (more hygienic) means of drying hands.  This stuff kind of makes me not want to use those fancy things anymore.
  • And then there’s the regular warm air blower.  Turns out those things might actually be blowing more bacteria onto your skin than you started with because they’re typically just recirculating the icky restroom air.  Ew.

All of this lovely information I learned by reading the article at:  http://www.dberkhoudartchitect.com/2012/03/new-research-proves-cloth-roll-towel-systems-crt-more-hygienic-than-air-dryers/
Read it for yourself, but take it with a grain of salt.  🙂

Sorry that this post was not so much a feel good one.  But some lessons just hit you smack in the face.  This might just cause me to reevaluate my prior choice to put my mouth under the fun jet dryer to see my cheeks puff up.  On a side note, if you haven’t done this or witnessed it, you’ve got to try it.  Never mind the mouth full of bacteria that might be involved!
sky dive

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Big Sky

Sometimes when the weather feels so nice you just have to soak it in.

I have terms for days like today…. Titanic weather.  You may wonder, “Whatever could she mean by that?”  Don’t worry.  We haven’t had a freak iceberg show up or anything.

Actually, here in North Carolina, the high was a sultry 82°F with winds of 10mph from the south this afternoon.   When the breeze hits me just right, no matter what I’m doing – even if in mid stride – I stop and lean into the wind, spread my arms open, and breathe in the fresh air.   Yes, it’s Titanic weather.  Winds that make me feel like I’m standing on the railing of a ship and that bubble up this urge inside of me to yell, “I’m king of the world!”

It’s moments like these that I look to the sky and it feels so big, so vast, so far and wide, and yet so close as if it’s embracing me.  What a wonderful thought to be embraced by this big sky.  It completely envelopes me and yet my arms are powerless in trying to even hold on to a portion of it.  Assuming the Titanic pose and leaning into the wind with arms open is the closest I ever feel to that beautiful sky.  And I hope to never depart from that feeling.


Sky references in scripture:  Psalm 19:1;   Job 26:7;    Acts 2:19;    Psalm 36:5

 

Rain Drop Races

Do you remember being a little kid sitting in the backseat of a car when the rain was pouring down outside your window?  Can’t you just still imagine tracing those little trails that the rain drops raced down as if they were in a mad dash to reach some finish line?

Rainy days as a kid used to be so exciting.  Well, at least in my family it was exciting.  Rain meant that daddy got to stay home.  That was always what I liked about rainy days.  It also meant that maybe – just maybe – we might get the chance to go to town once our rooms were clean and if we were nice to our mama.

My dad was a farmer so his whole livelihood depended on the weather.  In many cases, rain meant nourishment for the fields.  Sometimes though the rain was bad news during an already wet season.  Still in all cases, whether in times of drought or monsoons, the weather was out of our hands.  I was always surprised that my dad got more upset over NC State making a mistake on the football field or basketball court than he did over the weather not going according to his plans.  I suppose he knew what most of us have a hard time accepting.  Some things you just can’t change.  As my mother has reminded me many times:

Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass.  It’s about learning to dance in the rain! -Vivian Greene

Since when did we start dreading these rainy days?  Rain brings life.  Rain helps us appreciate the sunshine.  Rain even washes the pollen away – much to the delight of all the allergy sufferers.

As all good farmers know, it takes a proper balance of rain and sun and good soil and a keen eye to bear the proper fruits of a harvest.  And throughout it all, without patience, we might not ever see a seed grow to become a tall tree.  Remember that God always has one of three answers:  •  No  •  Not yet  •  I have something better in mind

Embrace the rain people!  Let your hair get wet every once in a while.  Who cares if your gorgeous locks get frizzy?  As one sweet four year old once told me, “Ms. Amber your hair is fluffy like a puppy!”  Thanks for those sweet reminders, little ones.

Rain related scripture:  Isaiah 45:8;    Matthew 7:24-27;    Jeremiah 51:16;    Job 28:20-28

Ever run a marathon?

As of today by 12pm in Raleigh, NC about 8,500 people crossed the finish line in the Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon and half-marathon.  I imagine for many of the participants, this was a an item that they can now cross off their bucket list.  I personally have never aspired to run in a marathon.  I think my legs and lungs would give out well before I reached the 26.2 mile mark.  However, I was fortunate enough this morning to be stopped in traffic due to the race course.  As I was sitting somewhere along Gorman Street, I couldn’t help but notice the expressions of those passing by.  Before I realized it, I was drawn in.  Some were wearing crazy outfits.  Some traveled in pairs.  Some were by themselves.  Some ran, some walked, others shuffled along at a pace that fell somewhere in between.  Some wore smiles.  Some had a mixture of sweat and tears rolling down their face.

Rocknroll marathon

Photo courtesy of Chris Baird / WRAL Contributor

As I observed these ordinary people, I noticed that very soon I was the one with tears in my eyes.  These were not professional athletes like I had imagined would be the only type of person willing to succumb their body to that level of stress.  No, these were mothers, fathers, community members, your average Joes.  And it would seem all of them, no matter what walk of life they came from – they all had a reason they were running.

Once traffic started moving again and I had dried my tears, I began to notice other players in this marathon.  Standing and sitting on the side of the road were volunteers and neighbors passing out water and constantly cheering the participants on.  For all the hate that exists in the world, I could see none in that moment.  The tears came back just as easily.  And all this I observed from behind the steering wheel, sitting in the middle of the road on my way to church.  It was as if God reached out and said, “Look at my creation.  Aren’t they amazing?”

I once asked a friend if he admired man-made art or nature more.  His response was that he admired God’s creation most.  Yes, I think that sums up how I felt this morning.  I’m sure God is also proud of us from time to time.

Congratulations to all the runners who dared take on the triple H threat that is Raleigh: heat, humidity, and hills. (Plus there’s the pollen which can do a number on your sinuses!)  You obviously fought the good fight and finished the race strong.  May we all be inspired by the purpose behind your endeavors.


Racing themes in scripture:  2 Timothy 4:7;    1 Corinthians 9:24;     Philippians 3:14;     Isaiah 40:31

Transformation

transformation

I’ve had a few changes in my life recently.  Nothing dramatic, but it has served to change my perspective somewhat.  Among my latest updates have been newly pierced ears, a shorter haircut, a new smartphone (all of my previous phones were flip phones), and a new residence.  So far, I’m handling the changes pretty well.  To me, these small adjustments represent an outward sign of an inward commitment to change the way I do life.  Sometimes I am so determined and focused on a certain activity that I limit myself by spending the majority of my time and energy towards that particular facet of my life.

Perhaps college has caused this change of thinking.  In high school, I hardly ever had extensive homework.  After all, there were rarely enough textbooks for the entire class, so realistically, take-home readings couldn’t be assigned.  The hardest part of high school was just making it through the long school day.  Because school didn’t take up much of my evening and weekend time, I felt free to do all sorts of other things:  acting, dancing, volunteering, babysitting, traveling, etc.

And then I went to college.  The class time didn’t feel as long, but there were certainly more homework, more independent studying, and more responsibilities.   Now suddenly, I had more free time than ever.  I could choose to spend that time reading, writing, and studying OR I could choose to use my time in other ways, like hanging out with friends, surfing the internet, or going out to parties.  All of the latter activities I frankly felt to be wasted time, given that I was a full-time student with scholarships on the line and my own reputation as a good student at stake.  Therefore, I committed my whole existence to doing everything right academically.  Do the assigned readings; turn homework in on time; meet the professors during office hours; write a paper; revise a paper; study the material discussed in class; ask good questions during lecture; answer instructors’ questions during class; etc.  But that life can get dull after a while.  It will make you crazy.

In the past couple of years, it seems I lost sight of what was truly important.   Now with newfound determination and clarity, I am endeavoring to change that.  I am hoping the change of scenery and pace in the coming season will help to elucidate my forthcoming decisions.

The Fatal Error

Forgive me…  I have made a fatal error in the blogging world:  I have neglected to post anything in several weeks.  Most dedicated blog authors submit posts daily, even multiple times a day.  At the very least, they post on a somewhat consistent basis.  I have failed and I hope my few readers will not hold this shortcoming against me.

Hopefully, as the summer season begins, I will be able to think more clearly and write more often.  In school, my #1 complaint was always about writing.  I hated it.  Oh, I was good at it, don’t get me wrong.  But it just took so much time and energy for me to muster up anything that I felt like was worthwhile.  I just didn’t see the point in it all.  My energy seemed better directed towards the fields of math and science.  At least there I could usually figure out the definite answer or the correct process.  Writing is a whole different ballpark.

When I came to college, I soon realized that writing was not as bad as what I had made it out it be.  Journaling became a new hobby for me.  The lost art of writing cursive in a pretty, bound leather notebook appealed to me because I was in control of what I wrote, how I said it, and who I aimed my writing towards.  Maybe that is why writing is favored by so many; it gives us control – the ability to create our own worlds, speak our own thoughts, and safely test our abilities without the risk of being wrong.  Some prose is just so powerful, it makes even the most untalented and disinterested of us want to pick up a pen and start writing after we read it.

To end us, a quote that speaks to the true power of written language:

pen


And just for fun….

penquestion

Life is Always Interesting

Life is always interesting, especially for those of us who make sure to keep it that way.  Apparently I have one of those faces that people are instantly attracted to… Maybe it’s the innocence in my heart or my welcoming countenance or even the eagerness in my eyes – but whatever it is, quite often I find myself making friends and finding admirers in the unlikeliest of places.  In fact, last weekend was filled with such experiences.  (If you’d like to know more of the specifics, you can fill out a contact form here. I’ll do my best to answer any of your questions.)

A little personal insight into my life:  Not long ago, I was involved in a serious relationship that everyone (including me) thought was leading to marriage.  As it turns out, our two souls were not being knit together in quite the way I had imagined, and the relationship, as we had known it, ended.    The thought of losing a friend distressed me more than knowing I had lost a lover.  Of course, there was a healing process involved.  Most people will experience these feelings of love and loss, and it’s not an unfortunate happening at all.  We can actually learn a lot from these events.  However, I have come to find that having hope and a close friend and the prospect of new love certainly helps us view the situation in a more positive light.

Budding relationships certainly give us hope in many cases.  As it turns out, it doesn’t take much for me to feel like I’m falling in love with someone.  If you combine genuine compliments with good conversation and laughing and then throw in some elegant dancing, chances are I will fall pretty hard for you.  Of course, it’s not altogether unreasonable for me to feel twitterpated by these actions since my primary love languages are words of affirmation and quality time.  Still, feeling everything so deeply can lead to hurt feelings when reality isn’t quite as you imagined it.

A friend recently remind me of the old adage, “The heart wants what the heart wants.”  I find this statement to be true in romance and many other regards as well.  If we can accept that some things are just the way they are, then why does it hurt so much to want something or someone that you cannot have – that society deems unacceptable?

Scripture says, “Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young; instead, be an example to the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12).  Of course, we could just as easily substitute the word “young” with other labels… Do not let anyone look down on you because you are old, male, female, black, white, gay, straight, rich, poor…  Why must such labels hold us back?  Why are there barriers?  Why can’t we love whom we wish without fear of rejection?  I can’t solve all the world’s problems but I can make a difference one life at a time.   We’re all different – all unique individuals with special gifts.  Imagine how that line of thinking would change our daily interactions: viewing every life as a precious thing and cherishing the moments we have with all kinds of people.  I’m going to try to live like that.