The most requested thing for dinner around here? Noodles. With butter.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

And so it begins...

The rainy season!

No- the new school year begins. Ab starts tomorrow, and I start a week later.

She's pretty jazzed. Spent much of today dancing around and saying, "School starts tomorrow, school starts tomorrow!" It's pretty cute. This year will be her first with a male teacher. Funny, my first male teacher was at the same grade. (It was a good year- lots of projects.)

So, in honor of the new school year and all that is education related, I offer a challenge...

These two signs are in our town, and they both sport the same grammatical error. First one of my readers to comment with the correction to the problem wins a prize.

(And in case you were wondering, I have cordially informed both establishments of their errors and they both don't seem to care. Ignorance and apathy, ignorance and apathy...)

Study hard, my friends!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Bob's Red Mill ROCKS!

We toured Bob's Red Mill last week. Very interesting tour- I learned something new about oatmeal. No, I am not going to tell you what I learned, you have to go to Bob's to learn it yourself.

We met Bob,

watched corn being fed into the grinder,

felt the textures of different grinds of different grains,

saw an older version of a stone grinder,

went to the restaurant and store (it's down the street from the mill),

ate delicious sandwiches,

and bought Scottish Oatmeal Blueberry Scones for the evening's dessert. (Nuke 'em for a few seconds and serve with ice cream... YUM.)
You can buy Bob's tasty products in grocery stores, but I would highly recommend a trip to the mill itself. Check the website for details.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

It's not supposed to be this way...

There's something wrong here.
The handle isn't supposed to point straight up, and surely it shouldn't stick so far out of the tank...

Ah. The round white thingy has come off of the handle stem and fallen way down the stick thingy.

Which shows me that the stick thingy is remaining vertical, which makes the chain way too long and it is now stuck under the little trap door thingy. If the trap door thingy doesn't close, the water keeps running out which makes the ball not rise the way it should. If the ball doesn't rise, more water keeps running into the tank. I moved the round white thingy up to the handle and screwed it back on.

That's better. Crisis averted. Well, for now anyway...

It's possible I have inherited the non-plumbing gene from one of my parental units (who shall remain nameless), which means I will end up making three trips to Grover's.

We'll see if it holds.

The suspense is killing me.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

From the Department of Redundancy Department

This sign is in my town. I drive past it at least once a week.
Every time I see it, the questions come to mind...
Memory Memorial Park...
Why not Memory Memorial Remembrance Park?
Because if you are going to be redundant, you should be redundant in a big way.
Don't hold back. Just stick another "MEM" word in there so the public is really really very abundantly clear about not only the name of the park, but its purpose.

And then there is the second line-

"A Freedom of Choice Cemetery".

What exactly are they choosing?
Paper or plastic?
Cash or check?
Coke or Pepsi?

Maybe they are choosing how and where to be buried. Perhaps they can be buried vertically or horizontally. Maybe they are choosing their headstone. Maybe they don't want to be buried next to that guy in the middle of row 17 because they knew him in life and they just didn't like him.
Doesn't every cemetery offer similar choices?

I wonder if the new ownership of Memory Memorial Park realizes that "choice" isn't something you are offered in the afterlife. Dead people really have no options.
You make your choice regarding eternity while you are alive.

Choose wisely.

I turned my face and camera 45 degrees to the left and took a picture of the other sign at
Memory Memorial Park:


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

New Year's Resolution part 2

For my second read-through, I changed a few things...

1. I used the New International Version of the Bible. The particular one I chose is not one I would use for study- it has very little in the way of cross-references and handwritten sermon notes. It was a gift and I keep it for the same reason I keep all those other Bibles (how did I get so many?) on my shelf- it represents a season in my life and holds dear memories for me. In this particular book, the font is bigger, and the pages are more opaque and less distracting than the first Bible I chose to use back in January. The NIV is very readable and more familiar as well. It was a good choice.

2. Instead of the official B90X reading plan, I made up my own schedule. The Bible I chose has 923 pages. I did the math (923 divided by 90 days- no, wait! 923 divided by 88 days because there are two "grace days" included in B90X...) and discovered that I should read approximately 10.488636 pages per day.

3. Being the incredibly flexible person I am, I decided to read about 12 pages a day for the first month, about 10 pages a day for the second month, and 8 to 10 pages a day for the third month.

4. I didn't stop in the middle of a chapter. I just chose to end at the chapter closest to the page number for the day. This was much better than the B90X plan that cut the daily reading in the middle of chapters and speeches and ideas. It was flexible enough to handle the variations that happen through the books.

5. I made a chart with all the days listed (3 columns on a landscape layout- folded in thirds it fits nicely in the Bible) and then filled in what I read after I read it. I knew the target number of pages, so it was pretty easy to just document my progress as I went along. I put the grace days at the end of each month instead of at the end of the whole 90 days. I thought it would be good to ration them like that and it was.

6. On my schedule, it takes about 68 days to read through the Old Testament, and about 22 for the New. I might tweak that a bit for my next time through because it is a good idea to slow down for the New Testament. You can't blaze through one of Paul's letters like you can with some of those accounts of pesky kings in the O.T. If I do 12 pages a day for 2 months (with no grace days), I will be able to slow to 7 pages a day for the N.T. during the last month. Gives more time to ponder some of the meatier chunks of the Bible.

Again, this was just a read-through, not a detailed study. It was harder to do once school was out for the summer, but with prayer and perseverance, I stayed with the program. I was struck again with the incredible scope of God's love for his creation, and the amazing overview of history (and future!) given in God's Word. I don't always understand why God does what He does, but each time through I get a better idea of the big picture.

I would encourage anyone to try this reading plan. Even if you are not sure you believe there is a God, what harm would it do? The Bible is the best-selling book of all time- certainly you don't want to miss out on a best-seller? 90 days is all it takes.

I'm starting again September 1. Join me?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

New Year's Resolution part 1

I know... every parent, student, and teacher in America understands that the "year" really begins in September rather than January... but in this post, I am talking about January 1, 2010.

First, you need to know that I don't make too many New Year's resolutions. I don't make them because I usually don't keep them. When I don't keep them I feel like a failure, and who really needs that hanging over their head? (Of course, there was the time I resolved to watch more TV and eat more potato chips in 1992 than I did in 1991 and I actually succeeded in that so the success/failure rate is pretty balanced...)

I have resolved and attempted, more than once, to read the Bible through in a year. That's what good Christians do, right? They read the Bible from cover to cover. Regularly. John Quincy Adams did it every year and I'm sure his daily schedule wasn't always easy. Every time I attempted it I always did well until the school year was over and then my structured life sort of sagged and I got bogged down in Jeremiah and summer and... oops.

In late December, 2009, I saw something on the internet about reading through the Bible in 90 days. 90 DAYS??? Hmmmm... not too much of a commitment there. 3 months. I can do that. January, February, March, done. I looked at the schedule,

Original B90X reading plan

and I decided that it was do-able. Sure, there was lots to read every day, but I am a pretty fast reader and having a plan would help...

So, I made the resolution. I printed the plan from the website (set the preferences so it was very light colored because that is a lot of black ink to use), chose a Bible version to use, and started in. About 30 minutes a day, 90 days later, I was done.

Here's what I learned:

1. I chose the New Living Translation because I thought it would be more readable. It was, but it was also distracting because it is not the version I memorized from when I was a kid, nor is it the version I usually use in church or study.

2. The small print and thin pages were also distracting. I could see print from the other side and it sort of made things look muddy. (I also needed new glasses!)

3. Speaking of distracting- seems like the devil was conspiring against me every evening as I sat down to read! I finally figured out that my focus was better if I prayed before I started. Duh.

4. A somewhat humorous distraction was that there are many passages that I have learned as songs. So I'd be reading and the song or songs would get into my head and then I couldn't think about anything else! Handel's Messiah is all over the place! Not a bad thing to have Scripture running through your head, or to pause for contemplation while reading, but I was on a mission to get through in 90 days!

5. The B90X reading schedule is a little awkward. It breaks up chapters and themes and was probably divided up strictly by numbers of verses rather than what makes sense.

6. If you think the people in your life are impossible, take a look at what God had to deal with in the Old Testament. Seems like each generation had to be taught the same lesson over and over and over and...

7. If the Old Testament was made into a movie, you probably wouldn't want little kids to see it.

8. The Bible is amazing. Reading it from cover to cover gave me such a good overview and insights of God, history, the future, and human nature. Nothing I hadn't known before, but tied all together is different than reading it in parts.

9. A good concordance is nice to have when you need clarity on a topic or passage.

After I got finished in March, I decided to read it through in 90 days again. I started in May and I'll tell you about it in my next post.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Raisins have potassium

Bananas have potassium. Prunes have potassium. Raisins have even more potassium. They also have iron, which is a good thing because I need more iron. Normal iron saturation is 20% to 50%. Mine is 8%. For those of you non-math types, that's LOW.

That could explain why I've been so dead-dog tired for the last few years and why my brain is fuzzy. It also explains why all my hobbies are sittin' down hobbies... scrapbooking, reading, crafting, HGTV, sewing, card making- all involve a great deal of sitting, which doesn't really wear me out.

Yeah, I'm on iron supplements. I'm also finding ways to incorporate more iron-rich foods into my daily life. The red meat is easy... the raisins are pretty easy... the spinach? Not so much.

Gotta go pump some iron. Catch you later. (But only if you're S L O W ...)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I can see clearly now...

Just got my new glasses- lenses only, I'm using the same frames because they are pretty comfortable (as glasses go) and I don't really need new ones.

The technician took my old glasses and new lenses and went to the back room where she made the switch.

She came back out, I tried them on, and WHOA! The whole world looked like a fishbowl with really thick sides. I felt like Mr. Magoo! Couldn't see near, couldn't see far... I silently wondered who messed up- the doctor or the technician?

She took them back from me and examined them closely and exclaimed, "Huh. I think I put them in the wrong sides."

It was everything I could do to keep from rolling on the floor laughing. That would not have been polite. But really- can you imagine?

She made the switch and I can see clearly now.

I guess the moral of the story is to always look through the correct lenses!

So much for which to be thankful!

Not in any particular order...

1. Walla Walla Sweet onion rings at Burgerville. They only appear once a year, and boy are they YUMMY!

2. Cool mornings and sunny afternoons.

3. Our Life Group from church- they are an awesome bunch!

4. Friday (both the dog, and the day!)

5. My job.

6. The breeze in our backyard that takes away the mosquitos.

7. Verses like 1 Thessalonians 4:11 "Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you,"
(emphasis mine) I like the bit about working with your hands because I feel that it gives me a mandate to quilt, scrapbook, make cards and just be crafty! (Of course, it's completely out of context...)

8. HGTV (Again with the crafty stuff...)

9. Our neighbors. Even the loud ones.

10. The late Charles Schultz and the whole Peanuts gang.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Quirky dogs

When I was about 8, we got our first family dog. He was a little beagle mix puppy we named Buddy. He cried constantly because he was taken away from his mama too early. So the next day, we took him back to his birth family and that was that for our family and dogs for about 4 years.

Then we tried a medium-sized shaggy thing named Barney. I don't remember much about his personality except that he used to watch TV with me and my brothers. He also begged cookies from my dad. When we moved to a house with an un-fenced backyard, Barney had to go live somewhere else.

3 years later we were in a new town, new house (with a fully fenced yard), and we prevailed upon Dad to try the dog thing again. We went to the Humane Society (or was it called the "pound" in those days?) and picked out a grubby mop with four legs that would need four baths and a haircut before we discovered he was a cock-a-poo that actually had eyes. We named him Bernie and he really became part of the family. We even took him on vacation with us one year.
Bernie had personality. He would play with any one of our family- he enjoyed my brothers' company even after they shot him with John's BB gun. It wasn't on purpose, it was a ricochet and the dog happened to be outside with the gun boys. (The vet said the dog would be ok with the BB just sitting there above the his shoulder blades for the rest of his life...)
Bernie also had this quirky thing that he liked to do- he liked to lick our toes. Not just a casual toe-licking because we happened to be barefoot, oh no, his licking was purposeful and planned. Every morning, dad would let Bernie outside to do his thing, and then inside to wake us up. The dog would make a mad dash for one of our bedrooms, leap onto the bed and then stand and stare at the feet of the sleeping person while wagging his tail in said person's face. The job of the awakener was to uncover his or her feet so Bernie could commence licking. Every single toe had to be licked. I'm not sure why because I don't speak dog, but I do know that if we interrupted the licking by getting out of bed, the dog would follow and try to finish the toes he had missed. He must have been an accountant in a previous life because he was so thorough.
After a few years, my brothers and I all moved out of the house. My folks sold the house, and Bernie with it. I know- sounds weird but the new owners wanted him. So, even though that was over 20 years ago, I still picture him living there, waiting for morning so he can lick some toes.

The next dog in my life was a beautiful pure-bred cocker spaniel named Cougar. He had been abandoned, and my brother (The BB gun brother) rescued him and gave him to me. Cougar was not a group dog- he pretty much limited himself to one person- me. He didn't lick toes, he didn't snuggle, and he wasn't the kind of dog that would listen to all your problems the way golden retrievers seem to do.
No, Cougar was a fetcher. He had a multicolored rubber squeaky ball that he would fetch over and over and over again. I could throw that thing 50 times in a row and the dog would unfailingly go get it. When we weren't playing fetch, he would carry the ball around the house like Linus with his security blanket. I have photos of him with the ball just hanging out of his mouth. One day, the ball disappeared and he went nuts checking every nook and cranny in the house and yard just to find the ball. When it disintegrated, I had to buy the exact same kind of ball for a replacement or he wouldn't accept it. I eventually bought about 6 of the darn things so I could have them on hand for ball emergencies.
Cougar got cancer in his jaw when he was about 10 years old. After making the decision to not do surgery, the vet let me hold him while they injected his last shot. I felt his heart stop and it was the sweetest and saddest pet moment of my life. If there is a dog heaven, he is there with his ball.

6 months after that, I tried again. Rascal was a poodle mixed with that dog from Greek mythology- you know, the one who guards the gates of the underworld? His quirky thing was that he ate my carpet, my landscaping borders, my patio chairs, and part of his crate. We took him back to the shelter.

Four years later, my daughter wants a dog. So, we get this little schnoodle who is as cute as a button from the shelter.
He doesn't eat all my stuff.
He doesn't fetch.
He doesn't lick.
He doesn't watch TV.
He doesn't cry.
From all outward appearances, he is just not quirky.
You have to live with him a few hours before you realize that he does have a thing that he does, a signature style, a small little quirk...
You want to know what he does?
He barfs.
Apparently, our dog has acid reflux. Either that, or he has body image issues and feels like he just has to get rid of those last two ounces so he can be a svelte 12 pounds again.
It happens on average about once a day and there are usually no warning signs- he is sitting there and all of a sudden...! Ew.

He appears to be healthy and energetic in all other ways, so I'm not terribly worried, but we'll be visiting the vet again soon to see if we can do something about this.
In the meantime, I am really glad that I have laminate floors.