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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Going Natural with Osteoporosis Management

For a good part of the last year I have had a terrible metallic taste in my mouth, not all the time, but at what seems to be important times, with no chance to even stick a breath mint in my mouth. I have been trying to figure out what is different, was it the new night guard, a new food, a vitamin? Then, last month I noticed that my stomach hurt every week after I took my Fosamax and realized it has been hurting for a few months. I mentioned it to my doctor, and she put two and two together. So now I am going to stop taking the Fosamax for a few months and go on a natural program. That is going to require a lot more diligence on my part and eating foods that are normally on my "yuck" list. But hey, if it keeps my bones healthy without these side effects, I think I can muster enough self control to do it.

When I was first diagnosed, the doctor gave me a list of do’s and don’ts. The do’s to build bone and the don’ts to keep from losing calcium. The do's were mainly exercise, walk, jog, or tennis for 30 minutes every day. One of my knees sounds like there is a handful of gravel grinding together every time I climb stairs so I will admit I've been lax on the exercise part of the regimen. But I did call a local tennis organization to see if they have anything for the older set, and am waiting on a call back from them. And I can walk, it's just not much fun walking alone or on a treadmill.

There were actually more don’ts than do’s. Along with cutting caffeine and limiting fat, one don’t was limiting red meats because of the protein, but no more explanation than that. Since then I have learned the reason for limiting protein. Basically, a high protein diet makes the body more acidic and the body compensates by pulling calcium and other alkaline minerals from the bones, flushing them through the kidneys which often results in kidney stones.

However, “plant-based proteins, like that found in soy, lowers LDL cholesterol and raises HDL (the good) cholesterol. This prevents the build up of arterial plaque which leads to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and heart disease, thus reducing the risk heart attack and stroke. The amount and type of protein in your diet also has an important impact on calcium absorption and excretion. Vegetable-protein diets enhance calcium retention in the body and results in less excretion of calcium in the urine. This reduces the risk of osteoporosis and kidney problems.” – from Feminist Women’s Heath Center. WebMD holds the opposite view, that a high protein diet, either meat or plant-based will raise calcium levels and reverse osteoporosis. The meat-based proponents are a minority however.

My doctor’s solution was to put me on Fosamax and calcium supplements, and assured me Fosamax was safe in spite of the pending lawsuits over jaw deterioration. Taking calcium supplements does not seem to be the only answer, as most websites agree that too much calcium is worse than not enough. Too much calcium and Vitamin D can be toxic and usually comes from supplements rather than from foods. As important as calcium intake is, the key is getting enough magnesium to absorb the needed amount of calcium. From Well Being Journal:

Despite all the calcium hype, ... in general people who consume about half as much as the RDA’s of 1,000 and 1,200 for adults actually have fewer bone fractures and better health than those who follow the RDA, and that high calcium consumption may actually interfere with calcium absorption, result in weaker bones, and cause calcium to be deposited where it is not wanted.

This unwanted calcium results in muscle spasms and bone spurs, both of which I have also developed in the last two years since starting Fosamax and increasing my calcium supplements to 1200mg per day.

And this from Nutrition ATC.

Excessively high calcium intake over time may lead to kidney problems. Kidney stones are associated with both low and high calcium intake. Very high intake can cause kidney failure. Too much calcium can interfere with the absorption of minerals such as iron, zinc and magnesium.

Also, supplements in the form of calcium carbonate can neutralize stomach acids which, in turn, can impair the absorption of vitamin B-12 from natural food sources.

Another website which cites many of the same concerns but is concise and easy to read is Natural Calm. However, it is promoting a product so let the reader beware.

An article on The University of Washington website shows that not all calcium supplements are absorbed equally and their conclusion, along with mine is that if a supplement is taken, a chewable is the best choice. After taking a calcium tablet for the last two years, I am now wondering how much, if any, was absorbed. From Helpguide.org, calcium citrate is preferable to calcium carbonate because it doesn’t cause as much acidity, and any kind should be taken in doses of 500mg throughout the day because that is all the body can absorb at one time. The optimum time for taking calcium citrate is at bedtime also, because most bone loss occurs at night. This website goes on to say that a Vitamin D deficiency accelerates bone loss, so even taking 1200mg of calcium a day is useless if there is no Vitamin D also. After reading these additional sources, and assuming they are correct, I have been wasting at least 700mg of calcium per day because I took my supplements at once, first thing in the morning.

So instead of relying on supplements alone to correct my calcium, Vitamin D, and magnesium deficiencies, I am going to supply it mainly the way God intended, with food. Then the body can deal with it better.

As Dr. McDougal says, “The only way to have more calcium entering the body than is leaving it is to eat foods low in protein content (especially those low in animal proteins).” He cites nations of the world with high rates of osteoporosis are the nations with rich diets. I thought his opinion of osteoporosis was interesting:
Approximately 65% of women over 40 years-old living in Western cultures are told they have "diseased bones" (osteoporosis and osteopenia) and are in need of drugs. Of course, this is not true, but it is a great way to sell medications and tests. Naturally, with the demands of pregnancy and breastfeeding, women require large stores of calcium in their bones. After menopause there is no need for these large deposits of calcium and the bones appear less dense upon testing (BMD) – this is normal, not sickness. There are a few women who do have seriously diseased bones, but drug therapy provides minimal benefits with the potential for very serious side effects.

Dr. McDougall does not agree with BMD test results and thinks that the bone-building drugs actually make bones brittle and more susceptible to fracture, and he is not alone in that opinion. One of the reasons I am not upset about stopping Fosamax are the many lawsuits.

Dr. McDougall promotes the vegan diet, and I could do that if it weren’t for the Hubster. I tried it several years ago when a lot of my friends were (and are) eating that way. However, Hubby put his foot down and flatly refused to eat brown rice or to stop eating meat. I’ll admit brown rice takes some getting used to, and it helps if it is smothered with something yummy like a bean and tomato sauce.

Before I close, just a little osteoporosis trivia. Did you know that short, thin, white women are the group of women most likely to get osteoporosis? I’m short and white, but certainly not thin, how is that fair? Did you know that the Alaskan Eskimo is the group of people by location most likely to get osteoporsis? Did you know that remote cultures who eat mostly whole grains and a little fish are least likely to get osteoporosis? Ok, that one is logical.

Foods rich in calcium- the major component of bones
*Milk
Milk pudding
Yogurt
Swiss cheese: 1oz = 250-270 mg
Parmesan cheese:
(both swiss and parmesan need to be eaten with foods high in potassium to counteract the sodium)
Raw hazelnuts
Dry carob powder
Brewers yeast
Raw almonds
Garbanzo beans aka chick peas
Tofu
Sardines
Salmon
Turnips
Spinach
Broccoli
Kale
Fortified orange juice

Foods high in potassium:
Raisins
Bananas
Dried apricots
Figs
Peaches
Raw sunflower seeds

Foods containing magnesium:
Dry raw wheat germ and bran
Natural raw almonds
Cashews
Raw Brazil nuts
Raw peanuts
Lima beans
Rolled oats
Pecans
Walnuts
Lentils

B complex foods:
Bran
Green vegetables
Peanuts
Egg yolks
Whole grains

Foods containing B5 – pantothenic acid:
Peas
Beans

Foods containing B6 – pyridoxine which is destroyed by cooking
Bananas
Avacados
Walnuts
Cantaloupe
Cabbage
Peppers
Carrots
Pecans

Herbs that contain both calcium and magnesium:
Dandelion
Red raspberry leaves
Kelp
Alfalfa

Foods rich in Vitamin D – which allows calcium to leave the intestines so it can be absorbed by bones
Salmon
Tuna
Herring
Halibut
Fortified milk
Egg yolks
Liver
Fish oils
Mackerel
AND DON'T FORGET NATURAL SUNLIGHT

Foods to avoid – interferes with calcium
Excessive protein – causes calcium loss from bones
Sodium – ditto
Caffeine – ditto
*Spinach – bind calcium and make it unavailable
*Rhubarb – ditto
*Chard – ditto
*Almonds – ditto
*Pinto beans – blocks calcium, but soaking several hours, rinsing & cook in new water helps neutralize
*Navy beans – ditto
^Peas – ditto

------------
* = National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends eating one hour before or two hours after calcium rich foods

Marti

Natural remedies, My ordinary life, Osteoporosis

Monday, December 29, 2008

Looking Forward to 2009

The holidays usually leave me drained, but this year I am actually excited about starting the new year. We had a nice Christmas. The girls came in from school and my mom and Hubby's parents drove down together, taking turns on the driving, and only getting lost once in Fort Worth. If you've ever driven in on I35W and have to get over to the Hwy 287 exit in rush hour, you know how easy it is to be in the wrong lane at the wrong time and end up going the wrong direction. When they left to go home, Hubby drove their van and I followed in his car and we drove them to Rhome so they could miss all the Fort Worth traffic, although Saturday morning traffic was light.

On Christmas Day we went to Brother Bear's house for lunch, and Lil, Hubby and I went to the range for some practice shooting. Hubby had a new gun he wanted us to try but I still prefer my little revolver.

Hubby and I sat down today and went over our goals for the coming year. These are really my goals for the most part, but some of them can't be done without it being a team effort, so I am including both mine and ours here. I also got my company sales taxes filed today, so I can start the year fresh.

Health Goals
Diet
Eliminate (Hubby says cut down on) desserts
Eliminate sodas
Eliminate fried foods
Add more vegetables
Add more fruits
Prepare rounded meals
Eat lighter dinner
Exercise
Walk daily 30 minutes
Bicycle daily 30 minutes
Exercises for the back daily
Look into tennis or golf

Financial Goals
Put 15% of Hubby's salary toward mortgage payoff
Hold off house addition until mortgage paid and economy is stable
Bump emergency fund to $20K
Add identity theft insurance
No eating out (Hubby says Less eating out)
Cook from scratch
Get part time job to speed mortgage payoff
Keep better budget accounting

Personal Goals
Clear the clutter
Have a place for everything
Clean out garage and office
Move office to den and closet
Finish projects in garage
Use up fabric stash
Keep the house clean (There has to be one impossible goal)
Get more sleep
Find a church home and not just a place to go

Build Habits
Put up everything after using
Make copies of paper records that are sent anywhere
Deal with mail immediately
Write down money spent every day

Some of these overlap categories, especially in the finance and health areas. Funny how the unhealthy food is also the most expensive in the budget.

Until next time, may you have blessings and achievement,
Marti

My ordinary life

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Life Without a Purse?

I don't see how men manage without a purse. Actually, I did see a man with a purse the other day but I figured his wife must have been around somewhere. On the few occasions I go somewhere with Hubby and leave my purse behind, I always need something. But the chiropractor told me to lighten my load and get rid of the weight on my shoulder. He's had me wearing a lift in my left shoe for a month and my spine is still misaligned.

I just weighed my purse and it weighs in at 5.5 pounds. In it I have my wallet with loaded coin purse (maybe that's why most men dump their coins every night), folding money, cards, and checkbook; pen; calculator; some kind of little broken part I need to replace; house keys; car keys; sunglasses; pepper spray and other heavy item for protection; cell phone; multicompartment pillbox; kleenex; handlotion (actually 2 tubes of handlotion because one is almost empty); lipstick; sunscreen lip balm; little tape measure; dental floss; earplugs; sunvisor; tire air pressure gauge (why, I have no idea); nail clippers; nail file; several packages of hand sanitizer wipes; shout wipes; folding scissors; hair brush; notebook; and camera.

Gee, no wonder my back hurts. I can see leaving most of this junk in the car and not lugging it around with me everywhere, but when I start thinking of the absolute minimum I need to carry, it gets longer and longer. And it's easier to leave such things as lipstick in the car in winter and quite another in summer when it would melt, and it doesn't do any good to leave a hairbrush in the car when the purpose is to fix hair that wind messed up.

I'd like to know how other women manage without a purse.

Marti

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

So This is the Dining Room

Before:

After:


Actually, this is the living room, but we have been using it as the dining room because we have no dining room after we enlarged the kitchen. Someday we still hope to add on a real dining room. It seems like this project has taken years, and Hubby and I can't remember the exact date I ripped out the carpet.




Since taking out the carpet, we moved the exterior door beside the fireplace, put another door from the dining room into the kitchen - in front of the new back door, put a window in place of the old back/side door, and put wood flooring in the dining room and hall.

Before installing the flooring, I cleaned the hearth. I had cleaned it when we moved in without much success, but this time I pulled out the big guns.







The reason for all this work was because of the way our Moe built the patio and this side door. The door faces north with no porch over it, and the patio in front of the door is about six inches lower than the nearby driveway. It also doesn't help that our lot is about two feet lower than the lot north of us, and it in turn is about two feet lower than the lot north of it. The result is that this patio became a wading pool with each rain and no amount of weatherstripping around the door could keep out the water.

Since the doors have been changed, we have had a good rain and for the first time in years, we stayed completely dry in the house. Adding a dry stream by the patio will keep the water from becoming a wading pool when it rains.

Having finished rooms is great, but having a finished floor is awesome. No matter how often they are swept or mopped, concrete floors are just gritty. And our floors were worse because the original painters had spilled paint on the floor, and we had taken up tile and the gritty thinset was impossible to completely remove, or at least it was for us. The best part is having the carpet at the bedroom doors tucked in evenly across the doorway. When I ripped out the carpet, I cut at least four extra inches of jagged carpet so there would be plenty to curl around a tack bar.

Draw leaf inlaid table, $150 at auction. Ten parsons chairs $2.50 each at auction. Yes, that's right, two dollars and fifty cents each. They needed to be reupholstered but as messy as teenagers are, I thought I'd wait until they were grown. Now I'm not sure if I even want to keep them. While it was really handy to have a big table when groups of hungry teenagers come over, it's a little big for us now.

I get up every morning surprised and pleased all over again that we are actually living like normal, civilized people. Ahhhhhh. It's amazing how living in an unfinished house can wear on your nerves.

Until next time, may you have blessings and clean socks,
Marti

Sunday, December 7, 2008

We Built a New Garage



We built the garage in 2003. We hired a guy from our church to do the framing and dry in the garage. In retrospect, that wasn't a good idea. He had done jobs for other people we knew and they were pleased. After the slab was poured, the lumber was delivered, but he didn't show up. Hubby, being the impatient sort, started framing the walls himself, and we had three up before the framer and his helper arrived. They quickly had the fourth wall up and started on the roof. When Hubby got home from work that day, he saw that the trusses weren't set evenly. Evidently the helper didn't know how to measure and on his side of the garage, the trusses were anywhere from four to six inches off the mark. So Hubby spent the evening moving those trusses, and the next morning he pointed it out to the framer and the rest of the trusses went up without incident and moved on to the plywood sheathing and decking. And then we didn't see them for almost a week. After a day or two, Hubby called and the framer said he got called back to another job but would be out the next day. The next day, no framer. Finally Hubby and I started roofing and on the evening of the fourth day, the framer and helper finally came and helped us finish the roofing.



The next three days they only came in the late afternoon and they began putting up the hardiplank siding. The doors and window probably made it slower but they only got one side done, and then we didn't see them again for a week. During that week, Hubby and I worked on the siding on the back and both gables in the evenings. And then it rained. After the rain, the plywood on the last side was warped and wavy. Still no framer and he wasn't returning phone calls. Hubby spent a day repairing plywood and then we finished the siding. When we finally heard from the contractor, we paid him for the work he had done and told him we didn't need him anymore. He never offered to replace the warped plywood or even acknowledge that it was warped.

We bought the insulation and sheetrock through a contractor. I insulated the garage and then the contractor's guys came out to put up the sheetrock. They were amazing, each one could lift those twelve foot sheets over their head and with one hand screw them in place.

After the drywall crew finished the walls and texture, Hubby sprayed the paint and we were ready for doors, trim, cabinets, and plumbing. We put a full bathroom in the garage both for convenience and to keep from tracking so much dirt into the house. We also thought it would be convenient if we ever had to turn the garage into an apartment for one of our parents. We put in a short counter and kitchen sink at the back of the garage for that reason also, and to make it easier for Hubby to clean fish and game.



Until next time, may you have blessings and easy building,
Marti

Pix

Friday, December 5, 2008

I Turned Around and My Baby Grew Up

Wasn't it just yesterday that she was four years old and insisting to wear an Indian headband everywhere we went, or six years old and climbing to the top of the play fort? Not just climbing the ladder into the fort but climbing to the very top rail of the tent roof. I tried not to act terrified when I told her calmly to come down. She looked at me and laughed.

We used to laugh at the way she mispronounced breakfast when she was little. For the first few years she pronounced it bre-fakst, and when she started spelling, it was just as bad. She hated reading and writing and would do almost anything to avoid it. But she was a whiz at math and no one ever noticed any real problems. It wasn't until she was a freshman in high school that we began to suspect she might have dyslexia, but when we talked about getting her tested so she could get help, she refused because she didn't want it on her school record.

She was so competitive, she forced herself to keep up in honors classes, even though it took her twice as long to read the material and sometimes couldn't finish the tests. But she never gave in or gave up, and managed to graduate in the top ten percent of her class.

Now she is a senior in college. The classes are hard, the reading still takes her twice as long as everyone else, and she still doesn't finish every test, but she has been on Dean's List every semester. This is the time of year that engineering students interview for jobs, sometimes an interview will last all day and she has to give a presentation over a project she has done. She loves being recruited, even though it takes more of her time. Her Thanksgiving was spent working on a project in the car as we drove to Grandmas and back.

She had an all day interview again today with a company, and they paid for her travel and hotel. My mother's heart worried about her staying alone in a hotel and driving into a strange city at night, but she wanted to do it alone.

She stopped by on the way home this afternoon to spend time with me even though she has a paper due and finals coming up. After a few hours, she left to go back to college, which she now calls home, because she has meetings tomorrow. That stubborn, wonderful child has grown up. I've been mothering for twenty-six years. What am I now?

Until next time, may you have blessings and joy in your children,
Marti

Doctors Offices Drive Me Nuts!

Some weeks ago I got up one morning with a stiff ankle. Every day it was worse than before until finally I could barely walk and decided to go to the doctor. Since I also needed some lab work done, I decided to go my family doctor and get everything done at the same time. This is the same office that once forgot about me completely and left me sitting in the waiting room for an hour before I could get their attention.

So on this day, I went in the door and was relieved to see that the waiting room was empty. I hobbled up to the admittance window and tapped on the frosted glass. After a few minutes I tapped again and someone opened the window and said no one was at that desk and asked me to go to another window in an adjoining office. So I hobbled over to the other window and tapped on the glass there.

While I stood waiting, a young man walked in the front door and knocked on the first window. The same woman opened it and told him to sign in at the window where I was now standing. As he walked up, I knocked again and he stood behind me.

While we stood waiting, an older couple walked in the front door, he hobbling worse than me and leaning on his wife for support. They walked up to the first window and in turn were directed to the second window. As they approached, I told them I had already knocked twice. Then the same woman who had opened the first window finally opened this second window and told us to go back to the first window. Can't you check us in here the older woman asked? No, this computer has been turned off.

So I led the line back to the first window, hobbling as fast as I could. There, the same woman opened the window again and asked for my name. She couldn't find my name in the appointment list. I told her when I called and who I talked to. She told me to sit down and she would find it and I sat in a chair directly across from the window so they couldn't forget me again. Meanwhile, everyone else was called into the office and I waited. Finally, I got up and hobbled over to the window, tapped on it, and when the girl came to the window I asked if she had found my appointment. Oops, she had forgotten to look, but she would do that now if I would have a seat. So I hobbled back to my chair and had just settled in when she called my name.

Once called, I saw the doctor and was in and out quickly. A few days later the office called with the results of my lab culture and I asked if they would send me a copy of it. Sure, she said, we can fax it to you, but you need to come in and sign a release for it. Why bother faxing it if I have to come in anyway? So I told her I could come by the next time I was out that way. That day was today, and guess what? They couldn't find it.

Now I like the doctors at this office, but the staff has a lot to be desired. It was the same with the last group of doctors I had gone to, only with them, it was never billing correctly. I guess it's time to find a new doctor but I wonder what the odds are of finding a good doctor with a good staff.

Until next time, may you have blessings and no need for doctors,
Marti

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Menopause

I have decided that menopause is Mother Nature's way of putting her thumbs in her ears and waggling her fingers while sticking out her tongue and taunting: "What was that about growing old gracefully?"

Marti

Monday, December 1, 2008

It's Not Ratatouille

Ben, maybe, or Willard. Every fall we see a few mice, but this is the first year we have seen rats, and not just a couple. Unlike mice, these have been found outside only. With the help of the Victor power kill rat trap, we have filled a small rat cemetery. We haven't caught any in a couple of weeks and I thought the fall rush was over. Not so.

Today, I heard a thud as something hit the front door and then the doorbell rang. I got to the door in time to see the UPS man sprinting back to his truck. Since this is his usual MO, I didn't think too much about it until I opened the door to get the package his dropped on the porch, and I do mean dropped. That's when I saw the rat, a dead white rat, sprawled across the sidewalk.

This is our first white rat, the others have been the usual brownish color. I don't know if this was someone's pet or how it became dead on my front walk, but I do understand the UPS man's desire to get back in his truck.

Until next time, may you have blessings and be vermin free,
Marti

My ordinary life

I Want to Know

1. Why it is possible to stick to a diet over Thanksgiving, but impossible when you have a cold?
2. When, EXACTLY, do you stop worrying about your children?
3. When, EXACTLY again, is menopause actually over?
4. When did Thanksgiving become just a convenient weekend to decorate and shop for Christmas?
5. When is middle age? (two friends in their early fifties died last week - does that make middle age 26?)
6. Why grass that was dead all summer is greening now that temps have hit the low 30's?
7. Why no one will eat the last piece of bread, or the last banana?
8. Why recipes in magazines have ingredients that can't be found?
9. Why no one ever knows who spilled something sticky on the kitchen floor?
10. Why the just purchased item is ALWAYS the one to be discontinued so you can't buy replacement parts?
11. Why do decorating people tell you to put what you love in your home and then they tell you your house looks dated or needs a new look?
12. Why do architects and builders put a door so close to the corner that there is one inch or less of wall space between the door frame and the wall so they are next to impossible to paint?

Marti

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Upon Eating an Avocado

I am trying to eat healthier. But half of a century of good ol' comfort foods are hard to give up. I made myself eat an avocado sandwich today. Whoever said avocados taste good have obviously never eaten anything better. It doesn't help that I have never liked guacamole, but after hearing all the health benefits of the avocado, I bought one. Actually, I had bought one before, but I took the advice of the clerk at the grocery store and let it get too ripe before I ate it and it was nothing but mush. This time I picked a very firm one. It was still a bit slimy where I cut the outer peel off, but it was firm enough to cut into slices.

Maybe I shouldn't have put mayonnaise on the bread, or maybe I should have eaten a bite of something I really hated before I bit into this sandwich. After the first bite, I thought I might improve the taste by putting some tomato slices on it, but I think I just wasted the tomato. If you haven't tasted one, avocado really doesn't have much of a taste at all, kind of like boiled squash. I don't like boiled squash either.

Looking at the avocado made me wonder about the first person who tasted an avocado. I always think that when I try something new, like "what would have made someone try a kiwi?" Did they think under that hairy peel there would be something good? Unlike the avocado, the kiwi was a good pick. But I do wonder about the first person who ate an avocado. Did they pick it from the tree and try to bite through the shell-like peel? Were they starving, desperate, and delirious and anything would have tasted good? Was it a person with no taste buds? Was it someone so twisted they preferred it over the fruit of the cherry tree? Or after tasting the mushy pulp did they think it was so bad they thought they would mash it up and serve it with corn chips to see how many of their friends would actually eat it? Seriously, have you looked at the stuff growing in the back of your refrigerator, or the stuff your cat threw up on the rug? It looks just like guacamole. And then the ultimate question, why are people still eating this thing?

Until next time, may you have blessings and good food,
Marti

My ordinary life, Humor

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I Am a TV Addict

Ok, I've admitted it, and they say that's the first step. I have a tv in almost every room, and they are all on most of the time. It's not like I really pay attention to what is on tv, I just can't take the silence of an empty house. I go to sleep with one on and I turn it on when I first wake in the morning. It's probably one of the reasons I have insomnia, and still I can't bear to turn the monster off and go to bed in a silent room. Hubby goes to sleep the minute his head hits the pillow, only awakening when he hears a loud noise from the tv. He used to complain about it, but now just rolls over and is soon snoring again. I feel really guilty about that, but not enough to put down the remote I guess.

In a half-hearted attempt to do something about my problem, I recently bought a little CD player with a sleep timer and some sleep-inducing CDs - at least that's what the advertising claimed. And yet, instead of turning it on at night, I kept watching the tv. The tv in my bedroom isn't even a good tv, the red color went out on it last year. Hubby mentioned buying a new digital tv, and I refused, thinking no tv was the best option. And then the thing wouldn't give up, just kept showing everything in brillant blues and sallow yellows and greens. We had to guess if women were really wearing black lipstick or if that was just what was left after the red was taken out. It was also the great equalizer. All people are a yellowish green, including their hair. Then the screen began darkening and we could only see the scenes shot in bright light. Still, the tv remained, like a loose tooth that you can't keep from wagging back and forth with your tongue, but you just can't get up the nerve to grasp it and pull it out.

I don't even like most of the shows on tv anymore; another reason to get rid of the tv, yet I didn't. Late night programming is either infomercials or old reruns, and I would rather watch those reruns than the current primetime lineup. I used to tell myself I would tape those shows, then watch them in the evening so I could turn off the tv at night. Never happened. Also recently, I had a long discussion with a friend about the Biblical instruction about tv shows containing supernatural people and events. I love one of her guidelines: Would you watch the show if Jesus were in the room with you? It also applies to a lot of shows that push the limit with sex, gore, and violence. As a result of the conviction I had and our conversation, I have changed a lot of my tv viewing. But the monster sitting atop the dresser in the bedroom remained, a dusty smirk across the dark screen.

Last night, after a long, sad, and depressing day, I told Hubby it was time to get the tv out of the bedroom and he helped me move it into an empty room. I shut the door so it's siren call couldn't reach me and I found an audio book on CD to lull me to sleep. It would have worked too if the alarm on the player hadn't gone off 30 minutes into the CD. My willpower was still high this morning and I found a picture to hang over the dresser, which gives the bedroom a pleasing, comfortable look. Afterward, I placed an ad on freecycle for the old tv and immediately received a reply. Extraction complete.

Until next time, may you have blessings and restful nights,
Marti

Monday, November 10, 2008

We Said Goodby To Our Best Friend Today

(This is Roxie as a puppy with her mother, Mandy.)

I am so happy Roxie had a good day yesterday, because today was bad. We think she had a couple of strokes before Hubby could get her to the vet's office. The vet and his staff were so kind to Hubby, and the vet teared up with Hubby as they said their last goodbyes.

Until next time, may you have blessings and furry friends,
Marti

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A Good Birthday

Even though Hubby was on a hunting trip, he still managed to arrange a birthday dinner party for me. Both girls drove up and spent the afternoon with me and then we all went out to dinner. The only sad part about the day was saying goodbye to them.

Until next time, may you have blessings and children's hugs,
Marti

Saturday, November 8, 2008

I'm Already Dreading the Holidays

Thursday, Hubby told me his parents were coming for Thanksgiving; he and his brother had discussed it with their parents when they went elk hunting last month. As I looked around my gutted dining room and the debris dump at the end of the kitchen, I thought about grabbing the nearest gallon of paint and throwing it at him. Then he said his parents said they thought they could manage the drive to Denton (where his brother lives). I breathed a sigh of relief and Hubby walked off, not knowing how close he had come to having his head splattered with paint.

Later that night, I called my in-laws to thank them for the birthday present I had gotten in the mail. After a bit of small talk I told Mother-in-law that Hubby told me they were coming to Brother-in-law's house for Thanksgiving and found out they were planning on coming to stay with us too. I told her our house wasn't fit for company, with the work being done in the living dining room, window boarded up, gaping hole in the wall to the kitchen, and all the stuff piled into the living room. Oh that's ok, she said, we don't mind. But we only have two chairs to sit in and no table right now, plus Brownie took one of the beds when she moved into her apartment so we don't even have enough beds. That's ok, she repeated.

My mother-in-law is a kind, loving woman but she does get her feelings hurt easily so I couldn't just say I didn't want them to come. It's not that I don't want to see them, it's just hard for me to want to be here, I certainly don't want to entertain right now. I'm not even going to try to cook a full meal that we all have to stand up to eat. So I called my mother who lives in the same town as my in-laws. Brownie had already told her the other grandparents were coming, and mom was wondering why we hadn't invited her, but bless her heart, she wasn't mad about it. Then I told her I had just learned of it myself and the reasons I didn't really want company right now. She was relieved because she couldn't find anyone to board her dog, but didn't have any advice how to get the in-laws to change their mind about coming.

When I confronted Hubby with inviting his parents here for Thanksgiving, he said he didn't really invite them, they just said they wanted to come, and besides he thought we could get the work finished by Thanksgiving. This was Friday before he left for a weekend of deer hunting. I don't know when he expects to get this done when he is too tired to do anything on weekdays after work and then goes off hunting for the weekend.

Today I called my sister-in-law and found that she doesn't want them to come either. She is in the middle of remodeling her bedroom, scraping that popcorn junk off the ceiling, and making comforters and curtains, and she doesn't have enough beds either unless someone sleeps on the living room sofa bed. Her daughter and son-in-law are coming and bringing their two hyperactive Alaskan huskies. My sister-in-law said that when those two dogs get together with her German shorthair, they jump all over the furniture and everyone in the room. Fun.

So now I have to lower the boom on Hubby to uninvite his parents without hurting their feelings. We might be able to get this house presentable by Christmas, but not in three short weeks. Wish me luck.

Until next time, may you have blessings and help for the holidays,
Marti

P.S.
Thanks for the prayers and well wishes everyone. Hubby called his brother and parents and all agreed that Thanksgiving wasn't going to work out. Unfortunately, his parents' reason is because my mother-in-law isn't feeling well. I hope it's just a simple matter of just getting her blood pressure medication adjusted.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Just a Quick Update on Roxie

Because one cyst has opened and she won't leave it alone, we took her to the vet today, fully expecting to be told this was the end. But the vet said she wasn't showing signs of pain and we could expect her to have two more weeks of quality life. So we brought her home to spoil rotten for as long as we can. She even got to eat a little chocolate on the way home. Still, it's hard to think that now we are waiting for the end.

Until next time, may you have blessings and chocolate,
Marti

My ordindary life, Gordon Setter

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Hall Bathroom Finished, or Not

I don't have a BEFORE picture, so imagine this: It's 1995 and you are standing in the door of a bathroom that is ten-and-a-half feet long and five feet wide with a bathtub across the width of the far end. On your left is a long wall covered with country blue wallpaper that has little gold and white flowers scattered across it. On your right is a two foot wide floor-to-ceiling cabinet with medium oak stain. Beyond it is a three foot vanity, also with medium oak stain. Covering the vanity is a cultured marble counter with built-in sink; it is, or was, white with gold streaks.

Cultured marble is a pretentious name for recycled marble waste. Someone figured out how to mix the scraps from real marble, mix it with fiberglass resin, pour it into a mold, and sell it to poor saps who can't afford real marble but want to pretend they can. You know, people like me.

This particular vanity has gold glittery streaks, which only augment it's phoniness. Moe probably chose the vanity to match the glitter in the popcorn ceiling. Of course the glitter in the ceiling isn't gold any longer, it's now black and looks like roach poop. Then again, maybe it is roach poop. Anyway, I digress. The sink is dingy, with dark cracks all around the drain, reminding me of the lipstick running into the cracks around my granny's mouth. Above the vanity is a large plate mirror, with water damaged ripples across the bottom. And above the mirror is a antiqued brass light bar, the kind that is supposed to make you feel like you are in a Hollywood dressing room instead of your ordinary old bathroom. But this one had just regular light bulbs in it, so evidently the previous owners finally realized they weren't in Hollywood.

Next to the vanity is the two-and-a-half foot spot where the toilet is supposed to be. The country blue wallpaper has been ripped off right here, exposing the fact that no sheetrock was ever put behind the toilet because the plumbing and walls didn't line up right. And past that is the new, white Americast tub we just installed, still with exposed studs behind it.

Above all this is a seven foot high ceiling. The heating system is directly overhead in the attic and apparently Moe didn't plan ahead for it's space requirements, or it - and the ceiling - could have been raised another foot. The ceiling is dirty along with the roach poop glitter, and the combination of dirt and popcorn make the ceiling look even lower. I'll wear a particle mask and maybe full face mask when I remove it, one that will make me feel like The Fly. This bathroom does make me feel like squeaking "Help me!"

The tub we put in was an Americast, and we were able to clean and reuse the tub faucet and shower head.

With everything we planned for the house, I asked myself how it would contribute to resale value, or be viewed by a prospective buyer. We had never lived in a house over four years, and I had learned to design for others, not for myself. So what possessed me to put a blue countertop in that bathroom, I have no idea. It was trendy, and I thought it was pretty. Did I think it would be timeless? Doubtful. Did I think buyers would like it? Again doubtful. What was I thinking?

Well, the truth is that I didn't pick the counter first. I picked the tile for the tub surround first. White tile with a border of blue tiles with a shell design.

I did think they were lovely and timeless. What I didn't think about before we already had them on the wall, is how hard it would be to find a countertop to go with them. They are an unusual shade of blue, not navy, not true blue, but more of a sea blue even though this photo doesn't show it that color. Other than a pure white, this was the only laminate that looked good with it. And that is how that bathroom came to have a marbled blue counter.



To fix the problem of the misaligned pipes and wall, we built out the wall about two inches, and ran the counter across it to the edge of the shower wall.


We had the mirror recut to remove the damaged areas, and put the laminate behind the toilet to make cleaning and painting easier. I think I repaint walls more than most women repaint their nails.


After the tile was finished on the tub surround and countertop and sink in place, we moved on to the floor tile, a 4x4 blue and white octagon and dot. We tiled the area by the tub and toilet, and carpeted the area in front of the sink. Remember this is 1995, and that was popular. Not a good idea with small children though. We later re-tiled the entire floor.





We picked a vanity light fixture and towel bars that were chrome with brass trim. Then I was lucky enough to find a matching toilet paper holder at a thrift store.



Years went by until I could repaint the white walls. Since the walls were only seven foot, I wanted to do something that visually lifted the ceiling. I didn't want anything as busy as wallpaper, and thought of painting stripes and experimented with several combinations before settling on this.

To balance the blue countertop, I left the opposite wall solid yellow. The colors work, but they are really too bold for my taste.

By the time I got around to buying door pulls, the brass trim on everything was beginning to discolor and couldn't be cleaned. Since the popular style at that time was brushed nickel, or chrome and nickel combinations, I bought nickel door pulls and painted the brass part of our fixtures.



Last step: refinish the yellowing oak cabinets. Stay tuned for the "after" photo.

Until next time, may you have blessings and perseverance,
Marti

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

My Dog Can Tell Time

7:00 is dinner time and we'd better not forget it. But this time change has really messed her up. She starts getting excited about 5:45 and is absolutely frantic by 6:15. She starts with "the dance" which kind of like running in place, except she doesn't stay in one place and will eventually dance off the edge of the deck if we are outside at that time. (Don't worry, it's only a six inch drop.) And if we are inside and don't feed her when she thinks it is time, she will come over and "talk" to us with a series of "roh, roh, rohs, and the longer we wait, the more insistent she will talk and earnestly look at us. If we ignore her and continue typing on the computer or watching tv, she will come over and nudge our hand with her cold, wet nose, then go around to the other hand and do the same.

Finally we say the magic words: "It's 7:00," and she rushes to her bowl and waits for food. Her typical food is Beneful Healthy Weight dog food. She doesn't really like this dog food so we put half of a package of Moist and Meaty Burger with Cheddar Cheese on top of the other dog food. She LOVES that dog food and will eat it and then continue eating the healthy dog food. The Hubster likes to tease her by putting the healthy dog food in her bowl and then walking away. Roxie sniffs the food, sniffs her water bowl, and then walks over to the drawer where we keep the Moist and Meaty, and she stands there until he gives in and gets that dog food out. When she hears the crinkling of the package being opened, she starts dancing her way back to the food bowl.

Because of Roxie, 5:00 is now called 7:00 at our house. But Roxie didn't like 7:00 tonight because I bought chicken flavored Moist and Meaty and she didn't want to eat it. She likes it even less than the Beneful Healthy Weight dog food, and carefully ate the Beneful out from under it, or as much as she could eat without touching the chicken M&M. So after an an evening meeting, we stopped to get her Burger and Cheese M&M and then raked off the chicken stuff so she could have her dinner.

I tell ya, the things we do for our furry children.

Until next time, may you have blessings and a furry head on your knee,
Marti

Empty Nest, What's That?

My eldest little darling called today to ask if she could move back home for a semester so she could save money on rent. Sigh. Of course she can move back home, but I was just beginning to enjoy my freedom.

Until next time, may you have blessings and extra room,
Marti

Monday, November 3, 2008

Yep, Just About Sums It Up



Until next time, may you have blessings and voter registration,
Marti

Bad News


Roxie's tumors are multiplying. Just the thought of the decision we have coming makes me cry. For those who have forgotten, Roxie is our Gordon Setter.

Until next time, may you have blessings and doggy kisses,
Marti

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Stand Up, Sit Down, Clap, Clap, Clap!

We visited a new church this morning, a Southern Baptist Church. It's been a long time since we've attended a Baptist Church, so I don't know if this is normal or not. When we walked in, a youth group dressed in black was before the congregation. There was a song playing and the group was doing sign language to the words of the song, and they were doing aerobics with it. It was either a really long song or they had it on a loop so it would play over again until everyone was seated. When we first got there, the young people were fairly energetic, but they looked ready to drop long before the music ended, some of them were still jumping, but most just bending their knees so it looked like they were jumping. It reminded me of Jr. High calisthenics where we would jump and clap our hands over our hands for the first several jumping-jacks, but barely hopping and raising our hands for the 50th one.

Then the part I remembered about big Baptist churches. They all follow a similar routine. The song leader/choir director asks the congregation to stand to sing a song. Then sit while the choir sings a song by themselves. Then stand for the next song or two. Then sit while someone sings a solo. Then stand for a scripture reading and prayer. Then sit for the next song. And that reminds me of a game we played when we were at camp, something that involved stand up, sit down, clap, clap, clap!

I don't think this is the church for us, and not because of the aerobics or all the standing and sitting. The pastor seemed to be reading the sermon for the most part. We have been hungering for the Word too long to be fed by someone who is just going through the motions. He also seemed to give opposing opinions in his sermon. I remembered reading Debi's blog Life the Journey about a pastor-in-a-box who used internet sermons, so I looked up the key verse online and found that he got the gist of his sermon at sermoncentral.com, which explained why it seemed like he was reading an unfamiliar paper; in essence, he was. He quoted parts of it word for word. The topic was Saul and the Witch of Endor. Theologians have had differing opinions about the text for hundreds of years, and this preacher presented the answer in two simple sentences? I guess it's common to buy or use pre-written sermons these days, and he didn't use ALL of it, just parts of it. Still, I'm disappointed.

And he did the modern parable thing which was also one of the few times he showed any emotion during the sermon. He told a story of a young man who was a diver on the swim team and who just so happened to have a key to the pool. Late one night when he couldn't sleep he went to the pool; it was such a bright moonlit night that he didn't have to turn the lights on. He was going to do a back flip into the pool and when he raised his hands he saw his shadow on the wall, and it was the shadow of the cross. He went down to his knees and prayed for salvation and just then someone came into the pool area, turned the lights on and revealed that the pool was empty and his prayer had saved him from death. Sound familiar? It did to me; I think I got it a few hundred times in emails. Check it out on snopes.com. At least he didn't tell it as if he personally knew the young man.

Another thing, and I'm probably just being picky, is that no one talked to us until the song leader told the congregation to take a moment to "greet your neighbors", and then they just said hello, shook our hands and moved on to the next person. I don't want people to come shake my hand because they've been told to do it, I want people to welcome me because they want to. When we first got into the auditorium, there were only scattered seats and a church member with a name tag asked some people to move down the row and make room for us. Hubby motioned me to go in first and I sat next to a man who never looked at me until he shook my hand, and he never looked at me again. At the end of the service, they did that thing where they played a song and asked everyone to join hands, and I had to hold that man's hand. I guess I didn't have to, but I didn't want to be rude. Anyway, he didn't wait until the song ended to free his hand and turn his back on me, which is a bit hard to do when you are standing next to someone.

I miss our old church where people didn't have to be told to be friendly, and the pastor preached from his heart. I left this church feeling sad, lonely, and with deep, nagging, spiritual questions.

Until next time, may you have blessings and fellowship,
Marti

Monday, October 27, 2008

Another Look at Sarah Palin and the Election

I've been watching all the media hoopla and have seen interviews with Sarah Palin and of course the vice-presidential debate. At first I thought she came off as a good choice; she is a good speaker and has a good track record. Then I was swayed by the media and thought she was a totally clueless bimbo who didn't have what it takes to be a president if John McCain died in office.

But lately, I've been thinking about the interviews, the clips that are continuously played for us, and I don't think she's been given a fair shake. Take the interviews with Katie Couric and Charles Gibson. Unless she was given a list of the questions they asked beforehand, and it's quite obvious she wasn't, they already had the advantage. And I wonder if either Couric or Gibson would have known the answers to some of their own questions if they (or someone on their staff) had not researched them and had the answers. And why aren't they asking Obama these sneaky questions?

When Couric asked Palin what magazines she read, I do wish Palin had been honest and said she was traveling all over America memorizing speeches, meeting people, and didn't have time to read magazines; but that she had people who read them and briefed her on the important issues. Instead, she went into politicalease nonsense and looked ill-prepared and unqualified. And as far as the Bush Doctrine question Gibson asked her, I imagine the majority of average Americans had no idea what he was talking about either. She just made it worse by trying to talk around it. It was obvious that Gibson was trying to make her look bad and I'm disappointed in that. I used to respect him. After doing a little research, I have found that there isn't just one Bush Doctrine.

Another thing that was brought up is that she was for the bridge to nowhere when she was campaigning for governor, but when she found that most people were against it, she changed her tune and campaigned vigorously against it. Maybe I'm just an insignificant little housewife, but it seems to me that that is exactly what we want our leaders to do - listen to us and then push for our demands.

I think Palin's biggest handicap is talking too much. She does beat around the bush quite a bit, but then, so does Obama. He just does it in such an intense way that he comes across as believable. She is more like those high school girls who don't know the answer to an essay question, so they write two pages of nothing in their gigantic cursive loops hoping they might accidently hit on the answer.

And that brings up another thought. It seems to be an election between Obama and Palin instead of Obama and McCain. No one can deny that McCain is qualified for the job, and there isn't enough dirt on him to make good copy, so the media wants the public to decide between Obama and Palin.

Poor Joe Biden is getting left out of the spotlight altogether. He got more media attention after being introduced as John McCain than for anything else. Joe the Plumber has gotten more media time, and look what the media did to that poor guy. He may have to work at McDonald's after his 15 minutes of fame.

Joe Biden is probably more qualified to be president than Barack Obama, he just doesn't have Obama's charisma. Unfortunately, McCain also lacks charisma, which is probably one of the reasons he chose Palin as his running mate. It's too bad McCain didn't pick Biden as his running mate. Their campaign would be as boring as warm milk, but both solid and competent.

We are continually told that McCain's age is his biggest handicap. He is 72 years old, and has had a couple of skin lesions diagnosed as melanoma which were removed and have not recurred. Not enough reason to think he is going to drop dead during his term. Ronald Reagan was 69 when he first took office and 73 for his second term and I don't recall that his age was such a big issue.

No matter what policy changes a candidate has in his platform, he still has to get them passed through both House and Senate before they become law, so it is unlikely that anything extreme will get through. Because of that, I'm trying not to focus on the things the candidate wants to change, but on what kind of decisions the candidate will make in a crisis. Obama seems to be cool under pressure, and hopefully will surround himself with good advisers. McCain is already experienced in war and a depressed economy, and hopefully will have learned from that as well as selecting good advisers.

Morally, I don't like either McCain or Obama. So the question for me is do I go with experience or charisma? Or does it even matter?

Until next time, may you have blessings and discernment,
Marti

The Mind of Man

Men are a puzzle. They can pick up 100 pound rocks, but they can't pick up a t-shirt from the floor. They can figure out the maze of wires inside an electric box, but they can't change a roll of toilet paper.

But I will admit, putting a shirt in the hamper is a tricky manuver. The hamper is inside a cabinet which makes it a four-step procedure, not the simple toe pickup and release that I'm sure is the preferred man method.

Until next time, blessings and a tidy spouse,
Marti

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What a Waste!

I am not frugal by nature, but have a tightwad upbringing and have put in diligent frugalista training for the last ten years. I know frugality and conservation are still not the norm, but I guess I hang out with so many folks who are like-minded that I expect it of most people. When I see waste, either of reckless spending or thoughtless trash, I am both amazed and disgusted.

Yesterday afternoon, my neighbor and I went on a seed hunting adventure on a nearby secluded road that is often visited by locals who don't want to pay a garbage dump fee. Usually they sneak in and out when no one is around, but occasionally we do see a truck enter or leave there and sometimes we get lucky and get a license plate number.

Still, I was flabbergasted by the things we found yesterday. It looked like someone had cleaned out the house of an older person because there were boxes of unopened adult diapers and vitamin supplements as well as a lot of other stuff I associate with older people. There were also unopened mailed boxes which we kept because of the identifying name and address on them.

There was also a lot of perfectly good stuff that we trash picked. Our haul included a wooden rocking chair with a repairable spindle, a brand new plastic ice chest, a minnow bucket, a small tool chest with a socket wrench set inside, a birdhouse, Easter basket, double shepherd's hook for hanging planters, brand new car battery, screw drivers, Christmas ornaments, framed pictures, a pedestal type tv stand, and believe it or not, a box of coins, mostly nickels, but it added up to almost $10.

I do not understand why these people can't make the effort to donate the usuable stuff to a thrift store, recycle the batteries - they can even get paid for the batteries, and put the other stuff in their own trash. These people live in town where they have city trash service for crying out loud. Instead, they ruin a beautiful area, leave trash that attracts animals and creates a breeding ground for rats and mosquitoes.

This bothers me on another level too. Even though many people have title to a plot of land, we cannot truly own the land. Leviticus 25:23 says "The land is mine and you are but aliens and my tenants." We may have temporary custody of it, but it will endure long after we have taken our last breath and become part of the earth. As stewards, we have an obligation to take care of it, preserve it, and enrich it. God rewards stewardship, (see Matthew 25:21) and I have been privileged to see the rewards firsthand. And then I see such wanton disregard for this land and for the people who live around it.

Deep breath. Ok, rant over.

Do you want to see my get of the day? American Beauty-berry which produces beautiful purple berries all along it's branches.

Oh, and an update on the diet. A half cup of food every two hours doesn't begin to work for me. I am upping it to a half cup every hour, at least for awhile. One slice of store-bought bread is over a half of a cup.

Until next time, may you have blessings and stewardship,
Marti

Pix, Diet

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Eat Anything Diet

I didn't make that up. I saw it on tv so of course it's true. Well, we'll see. But I haven't stuck with anything else so it's worth a try. This is how it works. You can eat anything as long as it's no more than a half cup serving. You can eat every two hours but every other "meal" has to be either a non-sugar fruit or vegetable serving. And between each "meal" you have to drink a cup of water.

For example, if you want pancakes for breakfast, with syrup on them, you can, but only a half cup. Then, two hours later, if you are still hungry (and who wouldn't be?), you can eat something like a half cup of carrot sticks or a half cup of V-8 juice. And between these two servings you drink a cup of water. Doesn't sound too hard, and hopefully will keep me from quitting or putting it off because I fell off the diet wagon.

I still have to quit drinking caffeine and all carbonated drinks and a few other things the doctor has recommended, but if I am craving cookies, I can eventually have one or two. I just can't sit there eating one right after not paying attention to how many I've eaten. One problem I see is how do you measure out a half cup of a sandwich? Another problem, and I am probably just making this a problem, is that I eat oatmeal for breakfast, with no sugar. Would a grain count as a vegetable serving? I think so.

I covet your prayers in helping me stick with this diet and that it is the one that will finally work for me.

Until next time, may you have blessings and will-power,
Marti

Monday, October 20, 2008

How to Make Your Derriere Look Smaller

Well, not really, but it sounded good. There are several rules of dressing to look thinner, and I've tried most of them: wear dark colors, don't wear anything tight, wear shirts that cover the derierre, wear dresses instead of pants, wear patterned clothes over bulgy areas, stuff like that. But today I learned something new and that is the art of distraction.

I had a chiropractor appointment and I was weedeating the yard and lost track of time. When I noticed the time, I put everything up and jumped in the shower. I didn't have any clean pants except one pair that is really too tight and shows every bulge which is a violation of one of the above rules. And to make it worse, the shirt that goes with it was wrinkled, really wrinkled. I was in such a rush that I only had time to iron the front of the shirt, and figured it would be ok since I walk into the room first and then the doctor comes in and he leaves before me.

But when I got to the office, I recognized two of the five women in the waiting room. There are almost NEVER people in this waiting room when I've been there before, or at most just one other person. And these two women had been in a group I once belonged to, and they never failed to comment on other women's weight, often in earshot of the poor women.

This is the difference between men and women. Men look at a woman and if they don't like what they see, they look away and instantly forget about it. Women look at another woman and if she is overweight, they say something along the lines of "I'm glad I'm not that big," "I'm not that big am I?" or "How could she let herself go like that?" And then they repeat that to everyone they see.

So, knowing this, I was prepared to keep a blank face when I heard the inevitable after I walked past them. But lo and behold, all I heard was "Did you see how wrinkled her shirt was?" Whoohoo, I can live with that! I may never iron the back of my clothes again.

Until next time, may you have blessings and no need for wrinkled clothes,
Marti

My ordinary life

Sunday, October 19, 2008

My Girls Came Home for the Weekend

It's been a long time since they've both been home at the same time. Oldest daughter had to work so we didn't get a lot of time to spend with her, but it was still nice to have them both under my roof. Every mom knows that you worry about them every minute you don't know where they are, no matter how old they are.

Until next time, may you have blessings and family dinners,
Marti

Friday, October 17, 2008

Is Coffee Really Tea?

I was watching The Bonnie Hunt Show this morning. She cracks me up, and her show conveniently fits the time slot between Bonanza and the noon news. Anyway, on the show there was a woman named Ivette Soler with worm tea, made with - you guessed it - worm excrement soaked in water.

And she's not the only one who brews tea for garden use. Howard Garrett also brews tea from compost and adds such delicacies as worm castings, manure, and molasses. The definition of tea from dictionary.com is "any of various infusions prepared from the leaves, flowers, etc., of other plants, and used as beverages or medicines" so both Ivette and Howard as well as Lipton are correct in calling their concoctions "tea".

So I was thinking, as I am prone to do when I drive the little red convertible in ever widening concentric circles, that coffee must be a tea. So why don't we call it coffee bean tea?

Until next time, may you have blessings and your favorite tea,
Marti

My ordinary life

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Standoff

I love fall, the cool mornings and evenings and that crisp smell in the air. Today was one of those cool, crisp mornings when I felt the need to be outside doing something. Or at least I did until I actually stepped outside. I had already decided that today was the day to start walking and cycling again, so I shrugged off the chill, snapped on my pedometer, and started out. That's when I remembered that I had stopped walking here because of roving dogs from the next street.

So I thought, no big deal, I'll just skip walking and ride my bike longer to make up for it. After I aired up the tires, I hopped on and started down the street. Something was terribly wrong with the bike. I think Hubby must have tightened the chain or something. I could hardly push the pedals in 3rd gear. Surely it couldn't be that my flabby legs just couldn't move the pedals. No, I'll blame it on the Hubster. I geared down to 1st, and the pedals turned, but I could have walked faster. I got around the corner and here came the dogs. I bumped it up to 2nd gear but the dogs were still faster. I pulled out my pepper spray, checked the wind direction - no wind, and stopped to face them.

I think that confused them because they stopped too; they probably aren't used to their prey stopping for a confrontation. So I stood there, holding my arm out and straddling my bike, realizing I was going down if they jumped on me. I yelled all the key words I had ever heard for dogs, "Down", "Off", "Back", "Home", and some I made up on the spot. Obviously, these dogs had never been trained, at least not in English. German, maybe. I don't know any German. I tried to remember any episodes of Hogan's Heroes and all I could think of is "I know nothing!"

Now the standoff was getting a little strained. They were too far for my spray to reach them, and the wind was beginning to blow - in my direction. Do I back up, bike and all, or do I try to go forward and intimidate them? Since the pedals were behind my feet, keeping me from taking a step backward, forward it was. Little tiny tiptoe steps since that is all I could manage while straddling the bike. Blasted bike. My desire to be out in the crisp, fall weather had definitely waned. I started to hate fall. I was cold now that the wind was cutting through my knit shirt. I realized I hate exercise and would rather be fat and unhealthy. The dogs don't care. They were warm and furry, and now curious to see why I was inching toward them.

Finally, I was within spray distance and the wind had momentarily died down. I aimed. I fired. Nothing. Nada. I was three feet from the beasts and my sprayer was dead. They were walking toward me then. My last attempt was to wave my arms in the air and yell menacingly. They backed off and I felt victorious, until I looked around and saw a car behind me.

Great. Now I'm the neighborhood lunatic.

Until next time, may you have blessings and working pepper spray,
Marti

My ordinary life, Exercise

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Political Rant

I am not a political person, I don't care to argue with other people about it, and don't even share my opinions with anyone outside my immediate family. I vote by process of elimination usually, and base it on the candidate's previous record if he or she has one, or if they believe in something I am totally against. And this year, the pickin's are pretty lean, both for local and national elections. So I am not here to try to convince anyone who to vote for, or even who not to vote for.

What I am upset about tonight may not even have anything to do with politics, unless it is the politics of television and ratings. I can understand when four or five channels all break into regular programming for announcements of national or global tragedies. But having the presidential and vice-presidential debates on all the major channels just rubs me the wrong way. If I want to watch a debate, I'll find the channel it's on, but forcing me to watch it by putting it on every channel just smacks of, dare I say it, of heteronomy.

Luckily, tonight Fox thinks the baseball playoffs are more important than the presidential debate.

Until next time, may you have blessings and choices,
Marti

Rants and Raves, Politics

Monday, October 13, 2008

I Could Have Picked a Peck

After my first batch of pepper plants froze this spring, Hubby came home with new pepper plants. Among them a was a jalapeno pepper, at least that's what the tag said. I don't like jalapeno peppers but he wanted them for roasting dove and making salsa. My tomatoes didn't produce in the quantities needed to make his salsa, so we ended up giving away most of these peppers, and the tiny red ones that were supposed to be cerrano peppers. Now here it is the end of the season and I found out that these green peppers are Anaheims, a mild chili pepper! Argh! I could have been using them in tortilla soup all summer if I had only dared taste it.

Until next time, may you have blessings and flavor in your life,
Marti

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Make a Cheap Picture Frame with Raised Design

 
I have been looking for a flat picture frame so I can put a design on it, but haven't been able to find one, and wondered if I could make one.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I Could Never Be a Pioneer Farmer


I finished chopping down the okra today and then tilled the garden, or at least half of it. This year, I expanded the garden by about five feet, and that part was really hard to work. Not only because the ground was rock hard, but the tiller kept getting bound up with the grass and a bolt in the handle kept loosening and falling off. I usually till with tines going backward, and to free them when they get clogged with grass, I reverse the tines. Once the tines are free again, the tiller takes off like a bucking bronc until I can get it stopped. It seemed appropriate that I name her Nellie (as in Whoa Nellie). In turtle speed, it's an effort to hang onto the handle and keep her going straight, and my arms are shaken all the way to my shoulders. Who needs a gym membership?

After I finished tilling, I raked out the grass from the new area, spread some wheat as my winter cover crop, raked over that, and watered it in. I'm beat, and I only did half the garden; the other half still has tomatoes, peppers, and okra growing in it.

Until next time, may you have blessings and soft soil,
Marti

Monday, October 6, 2008

I'm Baaaack!


I got busy last February, and quit posting for awhile. My father-in-law was diagnosed with Alzheimers, then Parkinsons, then not Alzheimers, and has been having a lot of medical problems. We had decided to move, and then buy a duplex or house with separate apartment. Then Hubby decided we would convert the garage into an apartment. Then he decided we would add on to our house. Then we were back to selling.

Anyway, by the time things slowed down and I could get back to regular posting, I had lost my password and couldn't remember what email I signed up with. Maybe I am the one with Alzheimers.

I did look back over my last few entries from January. Not only have I gained weight this year, I have totally lost motivation for losing any weight. I think I'll wipe out my weight log and start over again. But first, the Cokes and Chocolate have to be out of the house, consumed of course by me.

And just for you Di, a picture of my front porch.

Until next time, may you have blessings and a happy fall, y'all,
Marti

Monday, January 7, 2008

I Forgot to Tell About Our Branson Trip


The four of us, Hubby's parents, and my mom went to Branson the week before Christmas. Sound like fun? It had it's moments.

The Hubster had just had back surgery the week before and couldn't sit up very long, which meant I did most of the driving, and he did most of the backseat driving. We made a pallet down the middle of the van for him, but the girls liked sleeping there better than Hubby! The drive wasn't too bad until we got to Springfield and had to take some narrow, winding roads to our condo, and it had gotten dark. I don't really see well enough to drive in the dark, but it was me or flag down a stranger on the side of the road. And there didn't appear to be any strangers on the side of the road.

So I was driving, Hubby was on his pallet doing his backseat driving while lying down and unable to see out the windows. His backseat driving consisted of yelling "slow down", "were you supposed to turn there?", "are you sure we're on the right road?" and finally, "pull over somewhere!" even though there wasn't anywhere to pull over. It was especially stressful since Mom was following and would have to pull over too, and I couldn't tell if anyone was behind her. The last speed limit sign I saw was 50 MPH which was really fast on those winding roads, but I didn't want to be the lead in a long, slow train with honking cars behind me. Needless to say, I was a tense nervous wreck before we found somewhere to pull over. Turns out I missed the speed limit sign that said 30 MPH! After that, I was having back spasms and if I could have reached Hubby's neck, I'm sure I would have had hand spasms too.

But we finally reached the condo, and all in one piece.

We did a lot of shopping but only saw one Branson show, Kirby VanBurch. His magic was good, but the second half of his show was a play that wasn't great. We also went to Silver Dollar City, and saw two shows there, a gospel group, and the play A Christmas Carol. That play was great, and the set was fantastic. Even though I've seen that play umpteen times, this one brought me to tears. To top it off, at the end of the play they created snow over the whole audience.

While I'm glad we spent the time with the parents, it probably would have been better if we had gone somewhere that didn't involve scheduling events. Trying to get seven people out the door on time was a major event in itself, and when three of them moved at the speed of a herd of turtles, all the walking was a bit much.

The Christmas parade at Silver Dollar City was great and the light show synchronized to Trans-Siberian Orchestra's Wizards in Winter was fantastic. Our condo was nice too, so much better than staying at a hotel. The best night was when we turned the lights down in the condo and celebrated Christmas with our family with the lights sparkling on the lake beyond our balcony.







Until next time, may you have blessings and enjoyable family vacations,
Marti

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Yawn! Need to Get Motivated

This is the time of year when everyone else is making resolutions, jogging on treadmills, weighing every morning, and ridding their life of clutter. I must be in an alternate universe where the new year hasn't arrived yet. I do have a couple of goals that Hubby will probably hate. In fact, I truly believe he will dig in his heels and balk when and if I bring it up. Of course, if it somehow becomes his idea, or if anyone besides me suggests it, it will be a wonderful idea. Funny how that works.

Resolutions that only involve myself are the usual lose weight, declutter, find myself, blah, blah, blah. It's not like I have to start a diet, just stay on the one I already started, so no big adrenelin rush there. I am surprised I didn't gain weight during Christmas, because I did indulge. Now that that is over, maybe I can actually lose some weight and a jean's size. Now that would be a rush!

Until next time, may you have blessings and resolution,
Marti