Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Chocolate Ice Cream June Hodgepodge

1. On Saturday July 4th America celebrates her Independence. (If you're not American,  feel free to answer in terms of a national holiday in your own country) What is your favorite thing about the day? Your favorite food on the 4th? Do you fly a flag at your house? Fireworks-yay or nay? Any special plans this year?

My favorite thing about the 4th of July : the feelings--pride, joy, gratitude
Favorite food: theatre candy we buy just before watching fireworks
Fly a flag? Yes, very often!
Fireworks--see above
Special plans--yes, getting together with extended family

2. What's something you recently got for free?  

Today I got my tire patched for free. The guy thought maybe the tiny hole from a screw was something he missed two weeks ago when I took it in for a leak.

A week ago I got a new pair of glasses  for free (just the frames). I had paid a handsome price for wire rimmed ones just a year ago, and they got badly scratched up in no time (cheap, made in China, no doubt). The owner of the vision center found some frames that my lenses would fit and didn't charge me. That's great customer service!

3.  The Statue of Liberty, The Liberty Bell, The Washington Monument, or Mount Rushmore...how many on the list have you seen? What is your favorite historical American monument, and why? 

I've seen all but Rushmore.  The Statue of Liberty is my favorite for two reasons: 
-The first time I saw it from the air when returning from a trip to Russia, I welled up with tears. It made me think, "I'm home. This is MY home, the best country in the world!"
-When our son was in sixth grade, we accompanied his small class on an overnight field trip to NYC.  Fond memories of the kids' pleasure in being there. 

4. When it comes to the news are you more ostrich (stick my head in the sand) or hog (they have room to take a whole lot in)? How much attention have you given the recent news reports regarding ISIS and the acts of terror they've perpetrated against those who do not share their beliefs or support their cause?

I think I'm somewhere in the middle. (A hostrich?) I don't bury my head, but I can't take an overload of terror-centered news, either. It's almost more than I can bear to think of how quickly our country has changed just in the last five years. 

5. We're talking plain ice cream...vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry? Choose one.

Plain? It depends on my mood. If I'm in a good mood, vanilla. If I'm in a bad mood, chocolate. If I've had mood swings, strawberry.  My guess is you'd rather be around me on a vanilla day. 

6. Share a song you love containing the word 'stars' in the lyrics or title?

I honestly do love The Star-Spangled Banner.  I get a lump in my throat every single time I hear it. 

7. Describe and/or say goodbye to June with an acrostic

Between the weather, remodeling a kitchen, and buying a house (that STILL hasn't gone to settlement after two extensions), June has been STRESSFUL. As in, many times I was in  "chocolate ice cream" mood. 


 8.  Insert your own random thought here.

I'm so thrilled that my friend Renee's cancer is in remission and she is growing her hair back, feeling energetic, and celebrating a lot of things just one year after her diagnosis.  One son graduated from college, another from high school. Here we are at the party she hosted for her homeschooled high school graduate.  I had to tease her about being an overachiever--graduating two kids and beating cancer in the same year. I'm beyond thankful to God for His healing mercy. 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Highs, Lows, Progress, Setbacks

Ever have one of those days when, despite your best effort, hope wanes and you fight to stay upbeat?Or in my case as a Christian, firmly planted in one's belief that God is sovereign and nothing is left to chance under His watchful eye?

Today has been one of those days.   Optimistic at 8 a.m. but ready to cry, yell, throw shoes or a pity party by 8 p.m?  And yet, there were bright spots, reasons to smile, a mix of good feelings with the not-so-good.

Let me give you the aerial view of the situation here in my corner .Then the details, because what's a blog post (or conversation or email or even a text) from me without more details than anyone needs?

We are in the process of remodeling our kitchen.
We are planning a vacation.
We are buying our first rental property.

That's the aerial view.  If my marriage survives the remodel,  I'll blog about it.  If our family survives an 11-day road trip in tropical heat without actually being in the tropics, I'll blog about that as well. And if we ever get a settlement date pinned down on the home we're buying, you will read about it right here .

The kitchen is coming along very well, actually.  I survived not having a kitchen sink. You gain a new appreciation for that humble vessel when you have to do dishes in the bathroom.  I can honestly say I'm sick of going out to eat every meal. Thankfully my kitchen is now fully functional.  Complete with Dispos-All.  (Thanks, honey. You're the best.)

The granite countertops were installed yesterday and I love them.  Paul came home from a three-day business trip and I told him I was so happy with the granite that it was like having a new boyfriend. 'I just want to stare at it and touch it all the time. Sorry, honey, you've been replaced by a rock." 

(sneak peek...)

So, back to the high/low/progress/setback timeline...

At 8 a.m. I was hopeful we might go to settlement by late afternoon.
By late morning, there was 10% chance.
By noon, we'd gotten word there was no way.

Paul took the day off because we were SUPPOSED to go to settlement today and move the kids into the new house tomorrow.  But a bunch of incompetent foreclosure attorneys and their peeps have royally screwed up, dragged their feet, shifted blame, and made life very rough the past few days. suffice it to say that, if we had used their title company instead of our own, they might have passed a bad title on to us!  Our very experienced title attorney will be personally visiting a judge on Monday to try to straighten out the mess.  We might (???) settle Tuesday.

At 1:00, my hubby started cutting the underlayment for our new kitchen floor.  The floor we chose is engineered wood in Brazilian Koa from Lumber Liquidators. No two pieces are exactly alike--and that's my style. A unique look.

Paul called me to the kitchen after getting some of that blue underlayment in place. He wanted me to do the design. (Pick each piece; there are long, medium, and short ones in all different tones and grains.)

He regretted. occasionally, having asked me. I didn't just pick up planks willy-nilly and click them in place. I auditioned each piece like I would audition fabric pieces in a quilt. He asked me, "Do you really need to look at three different ones every time?"  Yes, I do. You need contrast. That makes a quilt sing, and that's what will make this floor sing. Variety and contrast.Trust me.

And guess what? When we stopped for the day (seven hours later), he looked at it, smiled, and said he really likes it.  He said I did a good job, and that made all the backache worth it.

Our  rowdy golden dog, on the other hand, isn't so sure. He is skidding and sliding all over it like Kramer entering Jerry Seinfeld's apartment.   God bless him, he lives life full throttle.

So that's my all-over-creation-in-my-thoughts blog post. I actually feel better now that I've gotten it out of my system . Writing has a way of helping me sort things out and calm down. It might take 5 drafts to not sound like a blog-zilla, but I do it.

To recap truth:
a. God is sovereign.
b. The kids won't be homeless. We invited them to stay with us if need be, if that tent doesn't work out so well for them in a lightning storm.
c. Some lawyers are worth every penny you pay them.
d. Others aren't worth a plug nickel.
e. Our kitchen is feeling less like a construction zone and more like a favorite new hangout.
f. I'm really tired from installing a floor today.
g. Secretly glad we're not moving anyone tomorrow in the pouring rain.
h. I really like doing home improvement projects with my husband when I get to design.
h.  I can't resist details.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Taking the Hodgepodge for Granite

People, can you seriously believe this is Volume 225 of the Wednesday Hodgepodge????
 At roughly 47 Hodgepodges per year (our dear hostess Joyce does take off for holidays and hectic days ONCE in a while).
that's a bundle of years' worth!

Thanks for keeping up the fun for us, Joyce!   I don't take it for granted. I appreciate the camaraderie and mental stimulation and chance for some nostalgia once in a while.

1. June 23rd is National Pink Day. What's your favorite something pink?

It's got to be a baby girl with pink cheeks wearing a pink dress. This baby girl 
is my niece about a year ago.

2. What did you enjoy most about gym class when you were in school? How about the least?

I enjoyed the competition the most, especially doing the ropes. Believe it or not, I was really good at rope climbing.  The least? Our gym uniform in Christian school. It made no sense whatsoever. The top was a white, short-sleeved oxford. The shorts were red polyester, to the knee--and skin tight. This look was supposedly "modest".   I beg to differ.

3. What memory is brought to mind by the smell of roses?

Realizing that the guy who I was crazy about and wanted to marry was also sweet on me, but he was too shy to give me red roses. He opted for yellow roses (symbol of friendship) but I got the hint! Yellow roses are still my favorite because of him, Mr. Conservative, my hubby of 28 and 1/2 years.

4. Do you prefer to read or write?

Read.  It takes less effort. But I do love to write.

5. Sam Keen is quoted as saying, 'Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.' Would you agree? Is laziness ever respectable? How will you be lazy this summer?

Depends how uptight you want to get in defining laziness. I think relaxing after some hard work is acceptable. Sitting around  a long time before doing work is not respectable.  Summer is a good mix of both. I will be lazy, maybe, after we get the kitchen done and the kids moved into the new house, and we're on vacation.

6. The Florida Keys, Disney World, or a resort somewhere on the Gulf Coast...which Florida destination would you choose (and why) if the trip were today?

Somewhere in St. Petersburg. My precious girl will be moving there in August for a few months to take a nanny job with people she knows.  We went to Tampa when I was preggers with child #3--it was a second honeymoon that my husband won as a prize for running a 10K.  But no resort is better than being with people you love and miss, unless you can have both!

7. What question do you hate to answer?

Have you seen my (keys, phone, ipod, grey shirt, Philips screwdriver, tape measure, cup, flip-flops, school tie, ....)?  The thing being asked for is usually right in front of them, but even when I'm pointing and saying, "Look up...to the right...no...the other right..." it's as if I'm the only one with eyes or radar.  I think this lost-thing-finder is estrogen fed and estrogen saturated.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

My granite countertops are being delivered today.  I'm just a wee bit excited!!!! 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Two Years of Wedded Bliss

Two years ago today our second son married his beautiful bride, giving us a new daughter to love.

Their marriage is sweet, tender, fun, adventuresome, and many say "enviable." To see them together makes others want a love like that.

Last year Steve wrote this post, which I think is priceless reading (not that I'm biased, but I'd love to read it even if I didn't know the author or his wife).

I'm a blessed mother-in-law; that much I know. The girls love me, respect me, tolerate me, invite me to their homes, and remind me that I raised the man of their dreams. Not all mothers-in-law feel this way, so I don't take it for granted.

Happy second anniversary, Steve  and Ambrey! May God bless your entire marriage abundantly! And may you always smile this way when you look into each other's eyes!