Saturday, October 31, 2009

Heaven's Embassy

Pastor Tommy Nelson talked about church discipline. Bob and I listened to the sermon online this morning.

I liked the analogy--or direct picture---not only are we ambassadors for Christ, but church---and by church, I mean the people, the assembly of Christians, not the building, are Heaven's Embassy. We look to Heaven for our rules, regulations, opinions, standards.

I need to hear the message again. Bob liked the fact that we stand for Heaven's Purity.

Pastor Mark Driscoll's message at Mars Hill was good this week, too. When explaining to teenagers, especially, why we don't have sex outside marriage--it is about dignity. human dignity. And to use and abuse people is to take away their dignity.

Friday, October 30, 2009


Microwave popcorn is supposidly bad for you now. The grease vaporizing is not good for your lungs. And I have not found any that tastes very good. So, today, I got down on my hands and knees and peered into the cupboard with the flashlight. Found an old sippy cup...full of some kind of liquid. Threw that in the trash. Wonder what little bitty hid it there and how many moons ago?

I found our old popcorn popper. It rotates 1/4 cup of corn in a circle of hot air. Warms up the kitchen, too! Scrubbed it with a soapy brush, and ran the plastic top through the dishwasher. And purchased some popcorn kernels at Walmart. And the old popper still works!! I wonder if this is the original popcorn popper we received 32 years ago for our wedding?? It was a re-gifting from Bob's cousin Bill and his bride. We found a card at the bottom from Karen at we all attended. Hey, I re-gifted, too---for the year we got married, it was the twelve sets of placemats...

Popcorn makes me think of my dear Grandpa. He lived to be over 99 years old. He used to grow popcorn on a special acre. Most was donated for a charity. But, once a year, the UPS man would pull up and and lug in a huge box. It was usually very heavy. I did not have the heart to tell him what it was. I appreciated him hauling it inside!

Some of my favorite pictures are of the boys chowing down on the front patio from huge bowls of popcorn.

A little butter, and lots of honey...what is your favorite popcorn topping?

My Mother used to make popcorn balls to give out at Halloween. Wow. I see them in boxes at Walmart. But, it would not be considered safe these days. I have one hundred pencils at the ready.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Another Front. More Rain

The rye seed is growing into little shoots. I am amazed it has survived the pounding rains. We have had some gully washers.

Yesterday, it got warmer and more humid, and we must have seen a merging dewpoint because the garage floor started sweating. And everything felt sticky. We went to bed last night to the news that the cold front had slowed, but was still a sure thing. It rained in the night. But, when the front came through, folks east of us got hail, and threat of tornadoes.

Pastor Mark Driscoll at Mars Hill church in Seattle has a new sermon up. All about Mary's song. And how Mary worshipped instead of worrying. She worshipped instead of fretting. When the angel Gabriel appeared just to her, she was full of wonder, and trust. It had to occur to her why God was doing this in relative secrecy. It sure would have made her life easier if Gabriel had appeared to her folks, or to the whole town. Instead, Gabriel appeared just to Mary, and then gave her the secret of her cousin Elizabeth's miracle. So, Mary went to visit Elizabeth---probably a one hundred mile walk. And stayed a few months. And when they first met--words flew out of their mouths that were definitely from the Holy Spirit. Elizabeth knew and proclaimed---why does the mother of my Lord come to visit me?

Let's play what if. What if Gabriel had announced to Mary's folks and the town that Mary was the OT fulfillment of the promised virgin. Was there a danger of people wanting to worship Mary? Was there a danger of word getting back to Jerusalem only five miles away? Was there the danger of the enemy finding out? By hiding Mary in a small, poor town, and letting the neighbors think the worst, it was a double hiding. The danger of her being stoned for an out of wedlock child was real, and when the rumors circulated and got back to Joseph, her fiance', he determined to "put her away quietly". And so God had to give him directions in a dream. Not once, but three times. God told Joseph to take Mary as his wife. Then God told Joseph to flee to Egypt, and later, when to return. God used dreams to communicate with Joseph.

Maybe Mary needed the toughening boot camp of hiking to Elizabeth's and back. Maybe Mary needed the ruin of her reputation to keep her hidden, and safe. Maybe Mary needed the rejection of her town to keep her eyes on the Lord, and loosen the ties to home, and friends, and tradition so that she can travel to Egypt, and then settle in Nazareth to raise God. To change God's diapers, to kiss God's take God to a wedding supper and prod God into turning water into wine. Surely, Mary had little brothers and sisters, or helped with little children in her villiage enough to know that her baby was different. She had to hear old, old prophets tell her strange things when her baby was presented at the temple to be circumcized. And the Bible says she pondered all these things in her heart. And when Jesus was 12 years old, and got separated from the caravan going home from Jerusalem, as a normal mother, she paniced, as we all would. And Jesus said He had to be about His Father's business...but from 12 to 30, Jesus stayed home and helped keep His family fed. Jesus worked. Learned. Knew all the Scripture by heart. Probably helped out with His brothers and sisters. Became the head of His family after Joseph died. We are not told when or how Joseph died.

It is a choice. We can ponder and worship or complain and worry. We can worship and wonder or be bitter and unforgiving. And we worship 24/7. The question is what are you worshipping at this moment in time?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Reunion Tower Adventure

The Popcicle.

The Microphone.

That huge ball that sits on the tower beside the shiny, glass building on the west side of Dallas. It is a landmark, and a distinguishing piece of architecture. Ben wanted to go there last year for his birthday, but it was being remodeled. So, this year, I made reservations. Reservations. And there is a dress code..."business casual". (no tee shirts, no flip flops, no tennis shoes)

The tower parking is downhill from the Hyatt Hotel. And I do mean downhill. And then you get to ride an escalator down to a "lobby" level, but it feels like the basement to check in and ride the elevator five hundred and sixty feet up. The outside seating area on a wooden floor slides around one whole circle in an hour. The movement is nicely slow and almost imperceivable, thankfully, and we got to watch the sun go down and a spectacular sunset.

Couples got the tables by the windows, but our table still had a great view, and I had a huge couch to myself. Ben chose the fish, and Bob and I chose the prime rib for two. The waiters---yes, we had two, warned us that the prime rib would take 40 minutes. At 40 minutes, another cook wandered out to show us a chunk of charred meat, but then he mumbled something we could not understand in the loud music and disappeared with the meat for another twenty or thirty minutes. I kid you not. We should have made him set it down, as we were ravenous. And by the time someone carved it, it was cold. The sauces on the "drunken noodles" were both sweet and hot, so my lips felt like they were glowing while we waited for dessert. Ben ordered a Baked Alaska, as he had never had one of those. Wild huckleberry sauce was swirled on one side, and "Happy Birthday" was written in cursive on the other. A sparkler candle was stuck in the Baked Alaska. Bob and I split a cheesecake.

If the chef were to ask my opinion, I would advise bread or salad to help fill you up. The meat was good, and plentiful, but whoa...not good to send people away hungry. And Ben's fish was sufficient, but serve it on a smaller plate, folks. Ben ate some of Bob's meat. What is it about gourmet food served on a huge plate? It makes the food look small, and are we suppose to gasp at the art? Even art looks funny in a too big frame.

Amazing views. Good thing Ben's birthday fell on a clear day! The waitress said you could see nothing the day before in all the rain.

Ben remembered a cheesecake shaped like the tower from years maybe he had taken a date there before? Now I am curious about finding a book on how it was built and how it works. It was fun to see waitresses come out of the center kitchen doors, and take their bearings. At one point, I headed to where I thought the bathrooms were, and the waiter re-directed me to a shorter rotation. I sure wondered about that open drain in the floor---did it go all the way down?

It was fun. Fun to honor Ben on his birthday. And fun to hear Ben brag to his brother on the phone on the drive home..."where did mom and dad take YOU on your 22nd birthday?" The competition continues...even as grown brothers. (when all together, they compare chest hair, as if that is a sign of true manliness...and I am sure Ben wins that competition every time!)

On Andy's 22nd, he would have been on his second senior year in college? Engaged? James would be less than a month from meeting his future bride. I did take the opportunity to suggest Ben propose to his future wife from Reunion Tower in eight or nine years. No hurry. Just because his brothers are married, we don't have to compete. I take this opportunity at every chance I get---pointing out that his uncle waited for a wonderful wife until he was thirty, and Bob waited until he was 26 to meet and marry me. Best to wait for the right one.

It was fun. Memorable. And as we lay in bed last night, I kept chuckling at the different things---like wishing we had insisted the waiter with the meat leave the hunk of charred prime rib with us...the first time he waved it in front of our noses.

And since each section had two waiters---tip each of them 20 percent? And a little carpeting might eat some of the noise. I'm just sayin'. The photographs are pretty on one section of the inner column. Photographs of what you are seeing out the window in a twenty-four hour period. The moon rises in five of them. The oberservation deck must be one level below the fancy gourmet eating establishment. Oh, yeah, Ben ate the sushi. He even put the hot wasabi on each rice encircled wad.

I am so glad I remembered to bring James' digital you have plenty of time to play around with it. And I want to remember Bob and Ben gestulating with their hands about where different landmarks are. And watching Ben and Bob keep track of how many times we went around. Early on, while in the 'lounge' area, we watched someone's OU baseball cap glide by. The waitress said that ladies set their purses on the wall that does not move all the time. Too funny.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Our Youngest, our "baby" is 22 today!

Ben was born 22 years ago today. It was foggy that morning, but warmer than this morning. Bob and I walked to the hospital. Good exercise, and I knew with a "planned" c-section, I'd be down for a while. My folks were staying with our kindergartener, Andy, and watching the fourteen month old, James.

Ben likes orange. He liked red, but when the teacher marked his papers in red as if bad...he switched to orange.

Ben installs solar panels on roofs. And photovotaic panels. And windmills, and solar attic fans. The solar panels are mostly used to heat water---for showers, pools, etc. He is a hard worker.

When we asked what he'd like to do for his birthday, he mentioned Reunion Tower---newly remodeled, I think Ben wants to check out the construciton more than the food. I made reservations. It has a dress code. "Business Casual" no tee shirts. no flip flops nor tennis shoes.

Twenty-two. His due date was in November, but I got to choose a number easy to remember. By then I was having to write the boys birthdays on every form imaginable, so 10-27-87 sounded fun. I think he was jealous of Halloween babies, but I just could not do that date. I don't like Halloween.

This Halloween falls on a Saturday night, so we give out Halloween pencils and change the clocks. yippeee. great.

The second to flee the nest, but the one who lives close by. We see him once or twice a week these days.

I took Bob to the train this morning so we would not have to pick up his car later. We plan on meeting Bob at Reunion Tower at 7pm. Fun. Fun.

Happy Birthday, Ben-Ben.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sad Day: Fourteen soldiers killed in helicopter crashes in Afghanistan

Eight more soldiers died later in the day...making a total of 22 on St. Crispin's Day. Twenty-two moms...dads...sisters, brothers grieving....

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Brownies in the oven. Dark chocolate brownies. A lot darker than this font lets me get. I have been hungry for chocolate. And even though we ventured into two Walmarts today...we were on a quest for more rye seed. Bob mowed the backyard super short, and prepared it for rye. When purchasing rye seed from Walmart, you can slip into the plant department, scout your seed, and pay right there and slip out that same outside door. The plants included pansies and roses and some autumn mums, but the space is quickly giving way for Christmas trees and assembled bikes.

Yes, this year we are smooshing Halloween with Christmas. Do all your Halloween and Christmas shopping in one trip if necessary. The Christmas trees come already loaded with lights, and they have cute three footers in purple, and pink. Because nothing says Christmas better than a pink or purple Christmas tree, right? Maybe for a little girl's room???

Last year, the rage was black Christmas trees. I guess the goths and such were able to celebrate in style, too.

Bob finished his six week series on the subject of Worship. While I enjoy having him be my Sunday School will be nice to be able to talk on Saturdays for a while. And know that whatever I do will not become an illustration. It is a series he can continue with no problem. I think he has barely scratched the surface. I think it would be interesting to look at major characters in the Bible and see what worship looked like for them. Elizabeth and Mary, for example, Elizabeth six months along, maybe seven, and Mary, newly conceived by the Holy Spirit...they sang, they danced, they hugged, baby John the Baptizer leaped in his mother's womb, and they prophesied...THEY WORSHIPPED. Right there. Right then. And all Zacharia could do was look on. Struck mute by the angel Gabriel. I still marvel at how Zacharia had to do all his wooing without talking.

Pastor Mark Driscoll taught the passage in Luke, and he seemed to think that Elizabeth would be glad to enjoy a mute husband. Sad. I don't think so. I know there are no accidents with the Lord, but I enjoy my husband's conversation, observations, and literal witty remarks. He is always right, of course, and we are all the wiser for it.

Time to check on the brownies. And the weather map. Areas just east of here, the weatherman said would get four inches of rain tonight. A cold front approaches.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

On a Sunny Saturday Morning

I don't know how much longer---we take it one Friday at a time. But, for the last few months, three or four, Ben has gone with us to Cracker Barrel on Friday nights as he likes their Friday night catfish fry. Ben has only missed one Friday, in weeks and weeks. It has been fun. Fun to touch base with our youngest. Fun to hear his stories. Fun to listen to his observations installing solar panels on roofs. It was an exciting day when they installed their first windmill, and a photovotaic system, too.

Some Fridays he does not say much, but he allows us to hug him goodbye. And that supper together is sometimes all he can stand of us. Or, he may venture out with us on a Saturday for lunch or Sunday after church to Carrabbas. He likes their lobster raveolli. Whereas Bob and I will split a veal piccatta--all that lemony goodness smeared on top of garlic mashed potatoes. And filled up with their delicious hot bread dipped in olive oil. I like the crusts. Bob likes the soft sections. So betwix the two of us, we lick the platter clean.

Lately, we have been enjoying the same waitress, Lisa. Lisa was the first to notice that we were "regulars" on Friday night. And she treats us well. And so we tip her well. Last week we learned that Lisa is seven months along. She had to tell us, as her apron hid it well. This week we learned that Lisa is our firstborn's age, and that her first baby died. She is excited about this baby, and has a younger sister Ben's age who is pregnant, too. I think Lisa would like us to adopt her. Ben did not know what to think of the growing familiarity. I think Ben would rather have a girlfriend than a sister.

Ben has a tender spot for cats. He has two he adopted that keep themselves entertained in his apartment. He said he almost brought home another yesterday, as it hopped in the work truck after he spoke kindly to it, and petted it. Curious kitty? Or, one with a good personality? I think a cat's personality is more important that its color or markings. (just my opinion)

Like I said, I don't know how much longer Ben will hang out with us on Friday nights. It is an opportunity to let him know we love him, and maybe encourage him. And hear about his adventures. Sounds like he keeps his guardian angel working overtime.

And it must be some rite of manhood to wait and tell your mom how you were sick or how you got a penicillin shot all by yourself. after. He does not need me anymore, and that is how it should be. But, I like to warn prospective parents---like a couple at church who married late, that kids grow up fast. We were hands on parents 24/7 from 1981 to 2008 when the last one flew the next. Just twenty-seven years, with three boys. If you only had one child, and they stayed home for college and attended a local one, you'd only have twenty-two years. Twenty-two years to instill love of God, country, and their fellow man. Twenty-two years to nourish, guide, protect and launch upon the world a productive, independent human being ready to be a husband, father, and co-worker. Just 22 years. If they hang around longer than that, the rest is gravy---getting to enjoy your handywork or marvel at how God helped them grow up in spite of you. ha.

Bob and I were married for three years before God blessed us with children. And then there were four years before that middle son came along. And next Tuesday, the baby turns 22. He has been out on his own paying his own rent, for almost three years now. I'll never forget the dates, because Ben left home the same week the grandchild was born. So, now Bob and I are in a new phase---the empty nest phase. The waiting around for phone calls, and being available for visits phase.

We figured out how to run the remote. And have been amazed at all the crime shows. CSI they are called. CSI in every major city on almost each night of the week on TV. You'd think they'd have run out of criminals by now! The hospital dramas and trauma dramas are too much. But, the mystery show, Flashforward, has caught our attention. Well written, and thought provoking. At first, we marveled at how God was getting the planet ready for the rapture. When the rapture finally happens, most will think it is just a TV show or movie stunt. During the Flashforward shows, they tease about another sci-fy coming in November, "V" with the gal from Serenity. Same shots of the cities, and same shot of the statue in Brazil in both Flashforward and "V". Only in one, the statue is destroyed. Funny.

ABC has the Flashforward episodes available so you can re-watch them and look for clues and see stuff you missed. Fun. Irritating ads count down between segments, and you have to click to restart, but it gives you time to get a drink of water, go to the bathroom, throw another load in, and restart at your leisure. Sadly, the ads are at a much louder decibel than the show, so you have to sit on the volume control or blast your speakers. I have not figured out the remote for that yet.

Bob was chuckling to himself this morning---that means a new, and funny post is incubating. Can't wait to see whatall he is gonna post.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Rain, Rain Go Away

We have had so much rain, that surely, surely all the lakes are full now.

I just hope it does not wash away our rye seed.

And yesterday, I took the coupon I received in the mail and went to a hair cutting place called, Great Clips, and got a good haircut for $11 including the $5 tip! I cannot figure out what Great Clips usually charges. I googled it, but it is a mystery. The lady who cut my hair was a little rough. Oh, well. I am a big girl. But, she followed my directions. And did a great job. Usually, I have to come home and fix the bangs or trim more around the ears, or I come home so chop cropped that I don't need another haircut for three months.

Great Clips has a natical theme. The booths are separated by sails anchored to the walls. From pictures on the walls, they are family friendly. Will I go back? If I get another coupon.

I love reading that our troops are bored in Iraq. One of the military bloggers even linked to a newspaper online article about the different ways the guys and gals use their time to take calculus or join a book club. Most are busy filling containers to bring stuff home.

Our troops WON in Iraq. Shout it from the rooftops. Our troops were and continue to be successful. They are amazing. Sadly, some are depressed because there is not enough to do, and they feel under-utilized. And this deployment is so boring compared to previous ones. As a mom, bored it good. Helps develop imagination. My sister believed that a bored son was a dangerous one, and would help them find something to keep them out of trouble. I remember giving my sons suggestions, but they seemed to keep themselves occupied. My Mom would give us work to do--so it was dangerous to tell her you were bored.

More later...cooling down after yardwork. Cut down some shrubs to let the more pleasing Nandina have more room. Even though it is in the fifties outside, I worked up a sweat. And filled that trash bag from leaves gathered by the front door, too. This time of year, a north wind forces leaves to pile up by the door, and then we track them in. Such a sense of accomplishment---but, such a drop in the bucket in whatall needs doing in the backyard as the shrubs are way overgrown. I like a hedge that blocks the view of the neighbors backyard. But, these have become vine infested.

And the front yard needs weeding in a very big way. Thankfully, after all the good rains, the weeds come up without much of a yank.

Now, do I get the award for most boring blog? ha

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Rye seed equals green front yard soon!

After I gave Bob his every-other-week haircut, he mowed the front weeds and raked, and planted the rye seed. Then I watered it in, to help it stick, and hopefully, germinate. Our front yard then looks greener in winter than we can get the weeds to look in summer under the shady oaks.

A grilled cheese sandwich for lunch, along with celery, and frozen cherries for fruit. And now I have oatmeal cookies in the oven. I add lots and lots of spices. And one more egg and one more cup of oats than the recipe on the lid calls for. And only brown sugar. It is the only kind we use anymore now that the boys are flown the nest, not that they were big sugar eaters except maybe on cereal occasionally. or in tea.

It is a beautiful fall day. Just gorgeous outside---October in Texas is the best. Our lowest temps since April tonight are predicted...into the forties we dip...why, we may have to close the windows or add another blanket to the bed.

Maybe I need to sit outside and knit a while...and watch the cute neighbors' kitties ambush each other and catch grasshoppers. We have given the neighbors' cats names so as to identify them amongst ourselves. I have not seen Patches in a while. She was the grand momma of many a litter. Catwoman has the most awesome gray cape on her back with aurora borealos type swirls, and the yellow and white kitty has the same swirls pattern, only in yellow. The neighbors have a kitty that is all white except for a black tail and a black mustache. Hitler, or Charlie Chaplin is the name we have dubbed him. The newest tiger striped kitty that is the same age/size/litter mate to the yellow swirls---what to call him? And Yellow Swirls? He is a good hunter. Tiger stripes. purrs if you pick him up. And lays at your feet or wants inside to explore if you let him. Great personality. I think a good personality in a cat is much more important than the color or markings.

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Friday Report

We played Scrabble last night while trying to watch the new series with the guy who played Luther. I kept rubbing my jaw. I wonder why the jaw bone above the new temporary crown is so sore? I know. I am just a big baby. But, I am still afraid to eat the raw almonds and milk duds. Maybe I can whirl the almonds in the blender and make almond paste? Hummm...

The whole premise of the new series is that everyone mysterious blacked out for a time, and when they came to, they saw whatall is gonna happen six months from now. Some did not like what they saw. And the mystery the dectectives are trying to solve make it interesting. And then there is this ad for a V for Visitors program coming up that pops into the program and ads but sometimes without much information. It is fun to see all the actors and actresses from the Serenity movie holding down new jobs. Have not seen the red heads yet.

And we have not been watching TV much if at all the last ten years or so. What is with all the CSI movies? CSI Las Vegas, New York, Miami, Los Angeles...with perfectly coffed and perfectly dressed folks in fancy lighting and using high tech software to solve crimes. And they are all on different nights. And they show such graphic things during the autopsies. I wonder what our old friend who was a autopsy doctor thinks of the show. They were rumaging around inside this guy's skull last night to pop out his eyes...and of course he had some eye condition which made it hard to see. And it was the little boy who dipped his fries in grape jelly that touched a bullet casing that solved the case. Right. What little kid dips his fries in grape jelly?

So cute to hear on the phone that our granddaughter enjoyed her first double feature. (Toy Story 3D) I don't remember ever going to a double feature. But, maybe, when I was a little kid and we drove to the drive-in theater, maybe that was a double feature.

It sure is nice to enjoy the sunshine today. And I love having all the windows open. Where are the doves? And the sparrows? And the cardinals? Its been pretty quiet at the bird feeder today.

update: bedtime: sadly, Ben did not eat supper with us. The first Friday in two or three months when he did not. He was driving back from a job in Longview, and sounded like he wanted to do it another time. Bob and I went to Crackerbarrel. Lisa was our waitress again. The trout was a little dry, as was Bob's chicken fried steak, but the dressing was moist and the green beans good. Half a trout, and two veggies and I am stuffed. My grandma would laugh to hear stuffing called a veggie. But, then, at Cracker Barrel, baked apples are on the veggies side list.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


The post I should write: I am so thankful to live in a free country where if you break your tooth on Sunday, you can call your dentist and get an appointment and get it fixed by Wednesday...temporary crown, anyway. They were as gentle and as courteous as they could be. (for you "bottom liners" you can stop reading now)

But, what I shall vent: (Gotta dump it somewhere.) I know. I am bad. But, that is what this blog is for. A kinda online journal. And it is time to realize I am getting older and need to face my limitations. Bubble gum, and milk duds can cost over $1500.00. Best give them to the trick-or-treaters.

I confess I am an angry person. Easily irritated by stupid forms. It does not take much to tick me off. The dentist office clerk syruply sticks a form on a clip board with an attached pen (guess they got tired of people stealing their pens) and instructed me to fill it all out. I had come early knowing this would probably be my fate. I understand. People move. Insurance information changes. Okay. But, "marital status"?? How does one answer? Just a line. No boxes to check. As I pondered a good word to fit on the line, I wish now I had penned "happily" or "blissfully". Maybe they were looking for a number. Thirty-two. 2009 minus 1978---a little math in the margin would have been cute.

List children, the form decreed. Flown the nest and two married is what I should have placed there. I just hastily scrawled, married and flown the nest. It was not exactly accurate. But, do they need to know that one has been on his own for two years and is feeding himself, and puts up with us for a meal or two just to touch base? And that we are thankful for that? How thrilled I was to see our youngest in fancy clothing on Sunday like he had been to church somewhere. wow. I don't think the dentist would need that much detail. Besides, why are we surprised when God answers prayer?

Husband's work address. Oh, dear. I dug through my wallet for my husband's business card. It is an old Fort Worth one with the new Dallas number scrawled in permanent marker. This won't do. And while my husband has faithfully worked for the same company for 33 years...the company has changed names so many times that we did a polo shirt with cross outs which he wears occasionally. Too funny. And he runs into folks who have weathered the changes and seek to add their company names, too, like the old Dallas Power and Light.

I got distracted by the line asking for insurance information. Grinding my teeth, I dug out the cards. again. I had given the receptionist all this information when I called for my appointment because you cannot GET an appointment unless you have all these precious numbers. On our insurance cards, they are named, "ID" and "group" but the dentist form asked for "policy" numbers. Go figure. I should have just crossed out their name for stuff and put what our card said. The form actually asked for our credit card number. Now I am really getting hot. How secure are their files?? Why not give them our blood type, etc. All anyone would need to steal our identity is to break into the offices of dentists, doctors, etc. Make it look like you were after the drugs, and grab some files. Our social security number is right there, too. Good grief.

Ah, then the part of the form asking about your "health". Wow. What a mine field. First, they ask when was the last time you have had a dental appointment. I just don't keep those numbers on me. That date just does not stand out. Guess I need to put it on a perpetual calendar somewhere and celebrate that day. I noted that they would know this more than I, as surely, somewhere in their files, there was a date of my last crown/filling/cleaning. Surely. "just check your files" was as helpful as I could muster. I told you I was bad. When our boys were little, it was such an effort to go to the doctor or dentist. The dentist told me later that when I first started coming to his office, my boys were in first, second and seventh grades. Makes sense. With the boys in school, I actually had a few hours to schedule appointments. But, when you have a house payment, and car payment, and kids in school, spending money on myself was sorta low on the priorities. That is my excuse and I am sticking to it.

I don't like going to the dentist. They fuss at how you brush no matter how much you try. They fuss at how much you floss... They critisize you choice of mouthwash and plaque build up and frequency of cleanings. Yes, when I want to feel good about myself, I go to an office and listen to people criticize my efforts.

It had been four years. Supposidly. Seems like just yesterday I was getting a filling/crown/cleaning. Four years. No wonder they had the old insurance company and old company name.

Four years ago it had occured to me that I did not have to wait until heaven home to get a gold crown. Instead, all I have to do is break a tooth, make an appointment, lay in a too small dental chair on my head, gag, listen to a drill----and yesterday I had plenty of time to decide if the drill was more like a baby screeching scream or a cat...and pay over $1500.00. In heaven, when we are casting down our golden crowns, I wonder if I will remember, and smile. It made my dentist smile four years ago. The guy is a Christian. Christian music is pipped into the waiting room. The music does nothing to drown out the drill. When the dentist asked his aid to fetch the drill bit shaped like a torpedo, I thought to myself, can we call it something else??

And they decided it had been ten years since a full mouth of x-rays. You'd think methods would improve in ten years. But, now, it is the same stupid plastic SQUARES that poke you in the gums and tender places. Gag a maggot. And gag I did. I had not had lunch. I don't think I would have thrown up much, but they look dimmly upon gagging. They told me to breathe through my nose. And not the Lamaze "he-he" breathing, either. Then the dentist decided to use GAS. I had never had GAS before, and felt like a failure. The last time I was given GAS was right before they put me out to remove my middle son, C-section method, twenty-four years ago. It was not a pleasant memory. It was an emergency c-section, and they were threatening all sorts of dire consequences if they did not hurry. I felt like a piece of meat. The dentist called it laughing gas. I was not laughing. I felt sick. woosey. paranoid. Then I got the "don't cares". And the dentist asked me how I was feeling. He assured me that the feeling would only last a few minutes and then I'd be back to normal. And that maybe that would make my gag reflex relax a little. But, when asked how I was feeling....I am the type who realizes he does not really want to know, so I will tell him what I think he wants to hear because I am a Christian. And it is not nice to tell people what you truly think. Those things we tell God and ask for His help and forgiveness.

I should not have been allowed to drive home. I had a big case of the "don't cares" and wanted to cry. And sad to learn that in four years, the impression materials have not improved any. And to expect to lay someone on their back for two hours and not salavate... but, the sun was peeking out of the clouds. So I sat in the back yard for a few minutes. I fixed the bird feeder. With our twelve days of rain, the sunflower seeds had turned into a brick block. And when I reached down by the bricks in the sideyard to find a suitable stick to break up the old seed and dump it, I put my hands on this sturdy, slim dowl....attached to a firecrackers. What a find! I could not wait to show Bob. My lips were still numb at supper, but I served Bob the celery, peanut butter, and hard boiled eggs, and fetched the firecracker to show him.

When did someone fire it? Did it fall upon our trees on the 4th of July when things were dry and could have burned down the house? Did it fall down out of the tree during the storms? More mysteries.

And we went to church. I still had the "don't cares" and knitted during the lesson and kept my big mouth shut. Steve had the funnies one liner when someone was discussing poor new mom's ten pounder two ounce baby....when asked when or how that baby decided to come two weeks ago, Steve said, "gravity". And made us hoot with laughter. There were STARS in the sky when we came out. And I want to remember the big, round, yellow ball at sunset. Ah.

I have a temporary crown. It is smooth to my tongue. I get to go back in five weeks for a gold crown. My fourth. And oddly, they are all on my left side. Being a right handed person, I chew the hardest on my left? But, the cost of gold has skyrocketed, and when gold drops someday, I need to lay in a dental gold supply, for when/if the four molars on my right side need crowning.

Something else I learned yesterday. At home, I like a radio going, or music. Especially when folding clothes. I can't just fold clothes. I need something to occupy my brain. When you are laying on your back in a too small dental chair for two hours on your back, and they have to shoot you twice because you are so fat that the anesthetic does not take the first time, and this irritates the dentist...well, I realized I had way tooooo much time to think. And tried to distract myself with prayer, but, I realized that I need to learn to meditate better. Meditate on verses such that you float somewhere else. Like right before the chiropractor crunches places you know you need crunches, but it is gonna hurt temporarily...I just wanted to float somewhere else. Wake me up when its over.

And this greeting you in their masks is unnerving, too. Why don't I get to wear a mask so you can't tell what I am thinking, either? And I lost count of how may times the dentist bonked his own head on the overhead mirror. Try not to smile during that !!! Schadenfreude. And we pay through the nose for this privilege? Ah, the irony. It is all so masochistic somehow. Necessary, yes. I know. But, as a person who once worked in an orthodontist office during high school and for a few years after, I notice teeth. I notice teeth in movies. Bad guys are usually assigned really bad teeth. But, I have noticed that there are a lot of adults walking around with gaps nowadays. This is not good. Gaps cause an unbalance and pressure and you get a domino effect of problems. But, with the cost of dental care, I can see why. And that is sad.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Last night at supper, I figured we needed more veggies in our diet, so I added half a bag of frozen baby lima beans to the bag of Bertolli. Bob said,"too bad James is not here to help us eat these limas".

James does not like lima beans. But, he would probably eat them all smothered with sauce a la Bertolli. I would not test him, though.

This morning, I made hard boiled eggs. Something nice and soft since I broke a tooth, but am headed to the dentist today at one o'clock. And Bob likes them. Eggs are SO cheap these days. I prefer Braum's eggs as they seem fresher. But, I had bought a dozen AA eggs at Tom Thumb as it was convenient, but I could tell they just were not as fresh, hence, good for hard boiling. Hard boiled eggs always make me think of James, too.

And along the foods we like and don't like theme, the other night, I smeared Vicks all over my hands before bed, and was revelling in how much I like the smell of Vicks, but Bob expressed his dislike. I asked him what else he does not like. He said, "rice crispy treats". He can't stand them. He does not like the smell of them nor the taste. He has declared them nasty. He said his mom made them for the family when he was little, but he never could eat them. He likes marshmallows, and he likes rice crispy cereal, plain and chocolate, but not combined. I used to buy the cute boxes of the stuff with chocolate and peanut butter layered and drizzled on them, as the boys liked them.

Bob likes almost every other food in the world. But, when he does not like something, he does not like it strongly. Amazing. I forget and ask if maybe he had a bad experience with them, like eating too much and burning out. But, no.

I did a roast in the oven on Sunday, as it was a coolish day. Small white potatoes, too---and it made great leftovers for Monday night, and my Tuesday brunch. So, a fourteen dollar roast fed us three meals. And heated up in the microwave nicely. I did not dry it out. Sometimes roasts are tricky. Resembling jerky.

The weatherman says we may see sunshine tomorrow. wow. Can't wait. And then another cold front. Fog this morning, but it is about all burnt off now. Fog in October reminds me of Ben's birthday. We walked through the fog to the hospital for Ben's birth.

More later....

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Chocolate Cat Peeps

Peeps are seen at Easter with yellow chicks, but they are year round now. The white ghosts peeps are plain, and okay, but the chocolate cat shaped peeps are good!

(found them at Michaels when I was buying yarn)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Is the Sun Shining Somewhere?

Hey, there are years when we pray for rain. In church. When we hunt for hidden sin because drought means grass fires, and wildfires, and burnt out houses and danger. There are places north and west where the fire has been known to skip on top of the mesquite trees.

This year however, we have been blessed with plenty of rain. Wow. Things are green and lush, and dripping. The top of the van is molding!

Even August saw nicely spaced rain, so that much mowing was needed. Then September---whoa howdy. rain. rain. heavy rain. gentle rain. misty rain. stealthy rain. clouds come down. drizzle. darkness. gray clouds.

Is the sun shining somewhere? Are we getting someone's share? Is the drought over? Are the burn bans gone?

I have the bags of rye seed ready, but it would be nice if Bob could mow out front one more time. Because once the rye seed goes down, any mowing would suck up the new seed. Rye seed gives us the green yard all winter we only dream of having in the summertime.

And I scored at Walmart today. Walmart has decided to smoosh Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas all together. So, I found those Christmas light bulbs we were needing. We wash the front of the house with blue lights at night, and had run low on them to the point that we could not replace any that went out. But, now we are set. And I'd like to change over to amber light. Makes a warmer night light all night, and the amber colored house honors our newest daughter-in-law, and is more of a fall color.

And what a change---we have gone from needing the AC everyday, and taking two showers a day, to having to CLOSE the windows. We had been sleeping with the AC off and the windows open at night. But, temps in the fifties---whew. Feels. great. Feels like the garage is air-conditioned. nice.

Even wandering through Walmart was pleasant. They keep it so hot in there during the summer that I can only last about half an hour before I am sweating so bad I am ready to go home.

Restocked my yarn supply---from Joanne's and from Michaels. I am set. I had been knitting off the sad color selection from Walmart. Joanne has rich colors. and Michael's has the soft ecru I like.

But, it was Columbus Day, and a lot of the schools were out. And little kids were shopping with their folks because it is raining again. A lot of moms were having to herd children, and say no to the myriad of goodies right in their faces. And are we in a ressession? Halloween seems to be very big business. Empty stores---have been taken over by all things Halloween. That box store that has been empty for months, is now a big Halloween draw. There was not an empty parking place. wow Halloween is not my favorite holiday. I am going to give out boring old pencils again this year. And if we don't feel like "playing" then we will turn off the lights early. And I will give the Halloween pencils to the school.

Monday, October 5, 2009

News about true Heros

"Some of the injured refused to be MEDEVACED out of the combat zone and continued to fight despite their wounds, according to soldiers at the base. Soldiers told the MEDEVAC crew that troops were donating blood during the battle, so it could be transfused into wounded comrades."

And Michelle Malkin reports that they were all deployed from Colorado:

Sgt. Joshua J. Kirk of South Portland, Maine
Spec. Michael P. Scusa of Villas, N.J.
Spec. Christopher T. Griffin of Kincheloe, Mich.
Pfc. Kevin C. Thomson of Reno, Nev.
Sgt. Vernon W. Martin, of Savannah, Ga.
Spec. Stephen L. Mace of Lovettsville, Va.
Sgt. Justin T. Gallegos, 22
Sgt. Joshua M. Hardt, 24

update: Michelle Malkin has many links now to the local papers, and story and links from the families.

and now another from Fort Carson

Spc. Kevin O. Hill, 23 from Brooklyn, NY

Michelle sites the number, 279 from Fort Carson and 24 from Afghanistan.

They have names. They have grieving families. They have stories that need to be told. They are true heros.

Homemade Tomato Basil with Cream

Cream, straight whole cream, is usually something we do not find in our stores until closer to Thanksgiving and Christmas. But, I found some at the local Whole Foods store. And put it in the back of the frig to wait for that first cool day. A big can of tomato puree, a cup of chicken broth, and some Mrs. Dash seasoning, brought to a boil on medium. A pat of butter if you'd like. A dash of salt. (this is a good time to use that fancy salt, like Kosher, if you have some) And then turn off the heat, and add the cream. Promised Land Cream is 8 ounces, I think. (Sorry, but I've tried milk, and it separates.) Then turn the burner back on to warm and heat just a little more while you set the table. Delicious. Good with dry toast or crackers. Tastes as good to me as La Madeleine's. I served some with fancy olives I found at Walmart. The salty Mediterainian olives made the tomato soup taste sweet in contrast. Made enough for supper tonight, too. I poured the hot leftover soup into a quart jar, and put it back in the frig.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Rum Cake

I know it is suppose to be a Christmas cake. But, when you have a spot of rum left over from last year...and a cup of pecans that need using up...

And I decided to be bold and make the cake batter from scratch---

Ideas glean from a few recipes on the web---

2 sticks of butter, cut into chunks,
2 cups brown sugar---the only kind I keep in the house nowadays

mixed with the shiny mixer James got me for Christmas last year.

set in the preheated oven for a minute to soften the butter--
remember the handle on the mixing bowl is gonna be hot !

1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour (set in a bowl beside so I can add it gradually)
4 eggs
3/4 cup whole milk ('cause it is the only milk we buy)
splash of rum

whip it up and pour it into a heavily butter bundt cake pan or angel food cake pan with chopped pecans sticking to the bottom of the buttered sides and bottom.

350 degrees until done... until it springs back at your touch. an hour, maybe?

glaze: 1 and a half sticks butter, 1/4 cup water, 1 and a half cups brown sugar, heated slowly to a boil, and stirring constantly, boil for 4 or 5 minutes, turn off the burner, and add the 3/4 cup of rum---or whatever rum you are using up.

I saw on Pioneer Woman's site that she poke holes in the cake, pours 1/3 of the glaze on the cake, then inverts it, and pokes holes in the cake on top where the pecan now reside, and add the rest of the glaze. I want to try it, as I used to only do one side, and thought both needed it.

Most Rum cakes call for the jello pudding mix, and a yellow cake mix, but I was feeling daring today. And wanted to avoid the strange chemicals listed on cake mixes. And I love coooking with brown sugar and butter. Gives it a carmelly flavor. But, we will see if it turns out.

My CAKE WRECKS book came in the mail yesterday. I had pre-ordered it from Amazon---which is quite a nice deal. $15 book for $7.99 !!! And that book is DANGEROUSLY funny. I was reading through it yesterday and I started laughing so hard I could not breathe. I started laughing so hard, I thought I was going to die. Bob would come home from work and find me slumped in his chair with the book in my hands. I had to close it a few times just to catch my breath. I may try another peak today. I don't know. Bob was holding his sides last night perusing the pages. Whoa.

Jen Yates is so witty. So observant. So amazing with her daily Cake Wrecks website. It is sad to read that some commenters can be cruel. I hope her husband, John continues to protect her from the anonymous troll.

She was in Dallas (north) today at a book signing. I had it on the calendar, but a dear lady at church died, and her funeral was today.

I should have ordered more copies. Two or three would fit nicely in the box they shipped it to me in. Then I'd have copies to share. It needs a warning label. No eating or drinking while reading this book. And best not in a quiet library...for the guffaws will burst forth. It is just so fun to laugh at cakes! Poor spellings, odd punctuation, literalness, bathroom humor, and what-was-ordered versus what-was-delivered are just some of the wrecks that are cakes.

The verdict: (burp) Whoa. Lots of glaze but the cake soaked it right up. A from scratch cake does not rise as high, but was nice and level for glazing. I poked one side, added half the glaze, ran to McDonalds for two angus burgers for our "supper" (protein) and then when I got back, Bob bravely inverted it onto the china plate. You will need a deep dish plate for this purpose. The cake broke on one side, but we ate around that just fine. I will probably put half in the freezer for guests at a later date. And bag the rest. The cake was moist all by itself, but the glaze of brown sugar and butter and rum made it even moister. Like a three-milk cake, but with rum. ha. Bob said it was, "heavy". But, I think he was excited to see me cooking and guessed from the screens of recipes what I was up to.

Fun. Fun. No icing to misspell. No preservatives. No strange chemicals I cannot pronounce nor strange emulsifiers. Just butter, milk, flour, and eggs. Our house is now rumless. And that is okay. I had forgotten about the leftover rum from last year's rum cake baking. My friend, Mary had braved the liquor stores for both of us, as they make rum cakes as gifts for co-workers.

A gentle rain. A super full belly. Bob working on his Sunday School lesson. And I ran the oven today with the windows wide open. No AC.

Friday, October 2, 2009

What is it about some people?

I am a Christian. I was taught that our feelings should be suspect. Thought and reason and Biblical principles should check feelings.

That being said, what is it about some people? I don't believe in "vibes" but some people have that special quality that makes you pause, and wonder about them. It is like they put you completely at ease. It is like you are butter, and you could just melt.

I don't think they always know they have this power or affect. Some are old, some are young. It is just the way they are. I think. And they touch you in a special place in your mind that makes you want to linger. Marvel. Ponder.

I remember the first time I encountered such a person. I was in high school, working in an orthodontist's office. There was this mom who was simply there to bring her child in for his appointment. And as she stood at the counter to write her check, to pay, I noticed she had this aura about her. Without physical touch, these people just exude calm. Peace. It is not their look, nor their speech. There is just something hard to explain about their presence.

Now that I have wierded you out, know that I am writing this more for me than for you. I hope it is Christ I am sensing. I want to believe that when we meet our Savior face to face, there will be calm. Peace. A supernatural and special comfort will come over us as we behold our Creator, and melt into His Peace. I think that is what this is---love bouncing back, and a little taste of heaven. Maybe I am wrong. Some may prefer the higher, more excited emotions when they see Jesus. Some may prefer louder exclamations seen at sports venues. I hate to use the word, magic, but I think Jesus is the Master Magician, with a wonderful sense of humor, and since He died on the cross to pay for all our sins, sin will no longer be an issue. Without a glance, there will not be the guilt, or shame for our failures and unmet potential. Rewards for things done for Him, in His power, and by His direction will be laid at His feet.

Maybe we will all have it in heaven. Maybe angels have it now. I don't know. Whenever an angel speaks, he starts with, "Don't be afraid..." so it is not something we can sense now. We humans are easily startled creatures. But, have you ever known someone or many who had this unique gift to put you at ease? Was it something you sensed about them right away? Did they even know they had this talent or power? Is it something that comes and goes and something you have to be in a good place to feel?

It is not something I want to elevate to an idol status. But, it is fun to be suprised by such joy. And wonder if this is what it was like for Mary when she sat at Jesus' feet. And once Jesus spoke to Martha, and pointed out to her what really mattered, was she able to relax and sense it, too?

When Peter betrayed Jesus, after denying Him that third time, even though Jesus had warned him it would happen, all Jesus had to do was look at Peter, the Bible says. And Peter wept bitter tears. After Jesus arose from the dead, He had a conversation with Peter by the beach, at the fish cookout, and challenged him with questions and commands and purpose to feed my sheep. Make disciples. We are commanded to go tell---to everyone and to the ends of the earth. And while God uses all kinds, and "not many mighty..." every once in a while, there is this pause, this feeling---and while feelings don't sustain us, and while we do not ride on our feelings, for they ebb and flow, we are thankful for all kinds of people God sends to our door, all kinds of helpers, and comforters, and wise counselors. We are thankful for the cooler weather, the rain, the green, the frolicking kittens, the sweet freedom from want, and fear.

And I am thankful for the handful of ones with the healing presence. The Balm of Gilead. The mystical, ellusive, yet special arresting feeling and pray God help me stop and marvel at the miracles: the newborns, the toddler's smile, the shriek of glee in one almost three, the shy smiles and gifts of the little guy next door, and in the one some consider to be of lower IQ, and that mom long ago---who stood at the counter where I worked, and awakened my senses to something marvelous called Peace.


A wonderful cool front came through last night and we got a nice shower plus were able to open the windows. That is so nice. Everything is so green and pretty. Someday, the jungle of shrubs along the back fence will need to be trimmed. I like the solid green wall, but to encourage the nadina, the wild shrubs need cut back.

Wasn't it so nice of our president to meet with General McCrystal for 25 minutes aboard Air Force One in Copenhagen?? Did he meet with him because of growing criticism? Did obama waste the general's time admonishing him not to speak of their visit, nor his being chewed out for revealing how little obama cares about our troops? We may never know what was said there. Rumor is, obama does not want to listen to the General because he does not like what the General must say. Does it give our troops comfort to know that obama spent time and effort and 'sacrifice' (gag---michelle's words) to travel to Copenhagen to push for the Olympics (which half of Chicago does NOT want) and gave General McC 25 minutes. That is not even a minute for each soldier who has died since August when obama asked for the report.

May the blood of each soldier that has died in Afghanistan, Iraq and now two in the Philippines be on the heads of all those who voted for obama.