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,

My ordinary life, Humor

Tuesday, November 11, 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,

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,

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,

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,

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,

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,

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,

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,

Monday, November 3, 2008

Yep, Just About Sums It Up

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

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,

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, 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 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,